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Learning with Google Translate

Whilst preparing this website for publication in both English and French, Wix provided the functionality to Google-Translate the content. Whilst for school-based language lessons, the use of Google Translate is actively discouraged, for obvious reasons, it can be a particularly useful tool for business purposes provided careful proof-reading and formatting checks are carried out to avoid translation howlers. On a related website, for example, we were talking about Burns Night Celebrations, honouring the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns. Google Translate offered this up as La Nuit à Brûler (The Night for Burning), which would have left French readers somewhat perplexed!!

But the process of using Google translate can be educative, particularly from the point of view of synonyms, as occasionally you see a translation result that is different from how you might have rendered it yourself. These results should always be checked independently to ensure the translation is valid for that context, but all of this can be a useful learning experience. Below is a sample list of some words and phrases that I noted down for interest as I went through these web pages:

*NB: monter is intransitive; that is, it cannot be used with a direct object.

You have to monter sur (le cheval), or monter dans (une voiture/l'arbre). Grimper or escalader are useful alternatives for a mountain or a hill, but gravir is very common and implies less effort than escalader!

** Fais gaffe! (watch out!). The main use of the word L'isolation is Insulation. L'isolement is more common to render the idea of Isolation. Isolément (with the é) menas in isolation.

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