Automatic translation of wordlists?

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Vedun
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Automatic translation of wordlists?

Postby Vedun » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:42 pm

Lately I've been wanting to make custom wordlists to study. The problem is it took me maybe 16 minutes to translate 20 words! Between copying/pasting words and definitions, switching windows and changing dictionaries when one misses a definition the process is unacceptably slow.

I know only of google translate that allows simultaneous translation of multiple words, but it assumes they form a sentence even when seperated on individual lines, so it doesn't cut it.

How do you go on about creating your own wordlists?
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Re: Automatic translation of wordlists?

Postby aokoye » Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:25 pm

Vedun wrote:Lately I've been wanting to make custom wordlists to study. The problem is it took me maybe 16 minutes to translate 20 words! Between copying/pasting words and definitions, switching windows and changing dictionaries when one misses a definition the process is unacceptably slow.

I know only of google translate that allows simultaneous translation of multiple words, but it assumes they form a sentence even when seperated on individual lines, so it doesn't cut it.

How do you go on about creating your own wordlists?

I've been using Learn With Oliver for the entire summer and one of it's many upsides is that if a word is in the database it'll automatically translate it. Generally speaking this hasn't been an issue but occasionally there will be an English definition that I'm not a fan of. That is pretty rare though.

One of the downsides is that it's a paid platform. That said, for me it's the one flashcard app that I've really been able to use to my benefit so I'm willing to pay for it. Note this is of zero use if your language pair isn't one that is supported.

If you were learning Japanese and wanting to translate words into English I would also seriously recommend Renshuu as it does a much better job of this and has a good free version.
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Re: Automatic translation of wordlists?

Postby DangerDave2010 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:39 pm

Given the file dicitionary.txt, that contains the words and definitions separated by tab, the file mywordlist.txt, that contains the words you want to translate, the following python script will generate myTranslatedWords.txt, containing your words and their translations, if they are in the dictionary.

Code: Select all

dico = {}
with open('dictionary.txt', 'r') as f:
   for a in f:
      a = a.split('\t'):
      dico[a[0]] = a[1]
with open('mywordlist.txt', 'r') as f:
   mywords = list(f)
   
result = []
for a in mywords:
   if a in dico:
      result.append('\t'.join([a, dico[a]])
with open('myTranslatedWords.txt', 'w') as f:
   f.write('\n'.join(result))   
   
Last edited by DangerDave2010 on Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Automatic translation of wordlists?

Postby Stefan » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:55 pm

You could import them into Google Sheets and use GOOGLETRANSLATE().

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Re: Automatic translation of wordlists?

Postby reineke » Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:25 pm

Vedun wrote:Lately I've been wanting to make custom wordlists to study. The problem is it took me maybe 16 minutes to translate 20 words! Between copying/pasting words and definitions, switching windows and changing dictionaries when one misses a definition the process is unacceptably slow.

I know only of google translate that allows simultaneous translation of multiple words, but it assumes they form a sentence even when seperated on individual lines, so it doesn't cut it.

How do you go on about creating your own wordlists?


I've found that a word list/pictionary I made myself in Japanese stuck a lot better than listening to vocabulearn for hours or staring at a professionally prepared vocabulary builder. Copying/pasting and making sure I got the translation right was essentially all I did because I only glanced at the list once or twice in the last 7-8 years.

"Unacceptably slow" prep work might be all you need.
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Re: Automatic translation of wordlists?

Postby Sayonaroo » Sun Aug 13, 2017 4:41 pm

I use google translate for automatic translation because it's efficient.

For Korean I'm using naver translate so I'm not wasting time looking up one word at a time and it does save me a lot of time. I look it up for the purpose of understanding the story/article at hand and to generate anki cards. Lately I haven't been doing this because I watch show me the money 6 and I'm learning Korean from that and I only have so much time (I have a lot of stuff to consume in english, japanese, korean).
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Re: Automatic translation of wordlists?

Postby Iversen » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:06 pm

It would be absolutely foolish to trust a machine translation of a wordlist. Luckily there is an alternative: a dictionary. And nowadays it should be possible to supply the users with copious amounts of genuine examples thanks to the internet.

In the old days a single person like the Londoner Samuel Johnson or the Parisian Littré would spend their whole life collecting examples and through a distillation process convert them into a dictionary, sometimes a whole team would try to get the job done, and in both cases it took many years to get through the alphabet. For instance the project at Århus University for a Jutish dictionary has never reached the last letter Å in the Danish alphabet, and it has been running since long before I studied there in the 70s. The Jutish dialects may be extinct before they reached the end.

Nowadays a dictionary may be based on corpora which have been run through a computer program, but you still need savvy humans to weed out the errors and fill out the holes. I write this as a heavy user of Google translate, which I use to make bilingual texts from a weak target language into a stronger language. After all, it is the only simple way to get reasonably close translations of texts about many of my favorite topics, and since it here is enough that I get a chance to guess the real meaning of the orginal texts it is not a disaster that some words are wrong as long as those I didn't understand are translated correctly - or as least in a way that let's me guess the correct meaning.

Sadly, you do have to accept that there are lot's of errors in the translations, and many af these are due to shortcomings in the inbuilt dictionary conconcted by the Googlean software. I do sometimes check single words in the translations, and I'm not impressed even when I get a list over possible meanings. Even in experiments with a certain word in different environments you will often find that some common meanings aren't covered at all and others are rendered more or less erroneously. Trusting Google translate as a dictionary is receipe for disaster. And a machine translated wordlist will probably be best used to get a good laugh.
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Re: Automatic translation of wordlists?

Postby aokoye » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:53 pm

Iversen wrote:It would be absolutely foolish to trust a machine translation of a wordlist. Luckily there is an alternative: a dictionary. And nowadays it should be possible to supply the users with copious amounts of genuine examples thanks to the internet...Trusting Google translate as a dictionary is receipe for disaster. And a machine translated wordlist will probably be best used to get a good laugh.

Woo it's a thing we agree on! In reality we probably agree on lots of things. That said, I just wanted to say I really like linguee because of the sheer number of examples it has. I've found it especially helpful when I'm writing papers (like right now).
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Re: Automatic translation of wordlists?

Postby Cainntear » Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:28 pm

Another "don't automatically translate wordlists" from me.

A word list consisting of complete dictionary definitions sounds like overkill anyway -- any wordlists I've worked with are glossaries to individual meanings that are important at a particular time. But if you're having problems with dictionaries not having all of the words you're after, trying looking up lots of dictionaries simultaneously with Multidict. It's an EU funded site built by a university researcher, so completely free with no ads.
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