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Old 17.05.2021, 10:53
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Holding conversation using translator device

Has anyone held a successful conversation with someone using an audio translating device? I once had a brilliant conversation with a Spanish taxi driver that included multiple stops and realized the need for speaking a foreign language may become moot someday.

Let's say you want to use a local tradesman who can't speak English. Why not just try using translating software to provide instant communication? The software is available.
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Old 17.05.2021, 11:00
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Re: Holding conversation using translator device

Between my accent and the other persons accent, I once had a dismal attempt at communicating with a Russian. It resorted to typing things out properly.
It was every sentence needing to be restated and restated until the translator picked up a close approximation of the words we were saying. Not conducive to fluid conversation.

This was the free google translate app. So other software might work better.

Still waiting for a babel fish to get stuck in my ear by some weirdo carrying a towel.
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Old 17.05.2021, 11:25
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Re: Holding conversation using translator device

I think Ato has hit the problem on the head - the combination of voice recognition and translation software these days is pretty good, but for normal conversation is still going to fall a long way short of the babelfish ideal.

There's a place for voice recognition, of course, but personally I've found that it usually takes several attempts before it gets it close and even then will need correcting/fine tuning, so I'll stick to typing, or swyping on my phone, for a while yet.

Translation software has also come on leaps and bounds over the last decade or so, but again, to be confident of it, particularly in regard to the all-important positive or negative nuances, I'd always run it back through a reverse translate, or via another known language, before being confident enough to, say, put a text block up on a website.
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Old 17.05.2021, 11:29
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Re: Holding conversation using translator device

I don't know what app our cleaning-lady uses, but when her translation from Moldovan comes out, it is in perfect UK English. Even subtleties are accurately conveyed.
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Old 17.05.2021, 11:31
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Re: Holding conversation using translator device

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Has anyone held a successful conversation with someone using an audio translating device? I once had a brilliant conversation with a Spanish taxi driver that included multiple stops and realized the need for speaking a foreign language may become moot someday.

Let's say you want to use a local tradesman who can't speak English. Why not just try using translating software to provide instant communication? The software is available.
Maybe I'm on a grumpy Monday, so don't take me too seriously

Well, I don't think so. Effective communication requires much more than knowing the basics of the language, it requires willingness to understand the other. The taxi driver has all the motivation to make it work. I'd bet a couple beer, he suppressed his impulse to tell you that's not how we say it here to get the job done. Applause for the guy, but that's not how most of people behave most of the time.

Quite probably, if you meet the same person out of working hours and using the translator device, you'll probably get a funny look, they claim to not understand and if you insist you get an explanation on how people over there don't talk like the translator. I think most of us have this experience even in our first language. Travel to other region of our home country and get funny looks after not using the right local word. If I fail at my first language, can a translation device do better than a native speaker?

Now, my gratuitous Swiss anecdote.....I go hiking, eventually find a bar, make a line to order a beer, take a look at the fridge behind the bar, and decide to order the beer. Bitte, ein drei tannen bier.....get funny look from the person behind the bar, insist on getting a drei tannen bier.....then the ah moment arrives and he says: a drü tannen? yes, damn it! I get it, the label says drei but I should tell drü, right? Could a translation device do better in this case?

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Old 17.05.2021, 11:56
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Re: Holding conversation using translator device

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Now, my gratuitous Swiss anecdote.....I go hiking, eventually find a bar, make a line to order a beer, take a look at the fridge behind the bar, and decide to order the beer. Bitte, ein drei tannen bier.....get funny look from the person behind the bar, insist on getting a drei tannen bier.....then the ah moment arrives and he says: a drü tannen? yes, damn it! I get it, the label says drei but I should tell drü, right? Could a translation device do better in this case?

I wonder how a Swiss person would feel if he fancied a bottle of Newcastle Brown ale in an English pub but was given a blank look when he asked for one.

It's either a Broon, a Newkie Brown or just a bottle of dog depending on where you are.

Was it, in Axa's case, genuine confusion or just good old plain bad manners?
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Old 17.05.2021, 12:09
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Re: Holding conversation using translator device

This is years ago, I'd hope translator programs have since improved, but:

Trying to co-ordinate with a Hungarian rescue group using our faulty German as a shared language and filling in with a translator program turned into something of a farce.

The problem is that neither our classroom German nor translation programs could account for somewhat specialized vocabulary.

Thankfully we each spoke fluent doG, and in the end managed to muddle through on goodwill.

But the next time we worked together I made sure we had a real person involved who could translate English-Hungarian.
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Old 17.05.2021, 12:48
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Re: Holding conversation using translator device

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I wonder how a Swiss person would feel if he fancied a bottle of Newcastle Brown ale in an English pub but was given a blank look when he asked for one.

It's either a Broon, a Newkie Brown or just a bottle of dog depending on where you are.

Was it, in Axa's case, genuine confusion or just good old plain bad manners?
Made think about home and it's about the same. No one calls the beer by the name on the label

Back to the original topic. The automated translation is just a tool. I think the difference is between people willing to overcome language barriers (taxi driver, cleaning lady) and people not willing to do it (barman). I don't remember the barman being rude, just unhelpful.
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