Translation phrases

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bombobuffoon
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Translation phrases

Postby bombobuffoon » Sat May 11, 2024 8:11 pm

Wondering if anyone has a list of "realistic" everyday English spoken language for translation practice.

Its surprisingly exhausting to come up with a list myself. And I am not that satisfied with what I've found online.

https://www.englishspeak.com/en/english-phrases
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Re: Translation phrases

Postby Le Baron » Sat May 11, 2024 11:18 pm

Isn't English your native language?
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Re: Translation phrases

Postby DaveAgain » Sun May 12, 2024 1:11 pm

You could perhaps use a TV screenplay, if there's an English language series available in your target language, translate the English yourself and compare that with the professional choice. I believe soaps and sitcoms are supposed to the closest to everyday speech.
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Re: Translation phrases

Postby bombobuffoon » Sun May 12, 2024 6:52 pm

DaveAgain wrote:You could perhaps use a TV screenplay, if there's an English language series available in your target language, translate the English yourself and compare that with the professional choice. I believe soaps and sitcoms are supposed to the closest to everyday speech.


Great idea, but not really practical for Finnish in terms of translation practice. As the translations tend to be sort of "artistically fit" to a scene, very little is verbatim translation. Its a great idea though to watch a film in English and read the Finnish subtitles, as I get exposed to whole new way of appreciating how sentences get interpreted. I also use a translation plugin to get a second pass of the literal translation of the subtitle. Definitely will do this.

But to clarify a bit I am looking more for phrase lists in English that I can attempt to translate, and then machine translate the sentences and compare that way.
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Re: Translation phrases

Postby Cainntear » Mon May 13, 2024 12:12 pm

bombobuffoon wrote:
DaveAgain wrote:You could perhaps use a TV screenplay, if there's an English language series available in your target language, translate the English yourself and compare that with the professional choice. I believe soaps and sitcoms are supposed to the closest to everyday speech.


Great idea, but not really practical for Finnish in terms of translation practice. As the translations tend to be sort of "artistically fit" to a scene, very little is verbatim translation. Its a great idea though to watch a film in English and read the Finnish subtitles, as I get exposed to whole new way of appreciating how sentences get interpreted. I also use a translation plugin to get a second pass of the literal translation of the subtitle. Definitely will do this.

But to clarify a bit I am looking more for phrase lists in English that I can attempt to translate, and then machine translate the sentences and compare that way.

I don't see the value in that.

Phrase lists risk leading you to memorise arbitrary phrases before you're ready to understand the principles behind them, and if the equivalent is idiomatically very different, there's a horrible tension between literal translation and idiomatic. Because phrase-based learning is often expecting the learner to induce the rules from examples, quite often the literal translation wins out, but then you've got people who refuse literal translation because the only idiomatic is what people actually say, and often you get people trying to balance this and falling completely between two stools.

The phrase list you've linked is showing a lot of the problems:

You've got "don't worry" given because it's seen as a useful fixed phrase, but you've got "he's very annoying" and "he's very famous" next to each other to deliberately demonstrate a grammatical point. But then again, that does assume that the pattern in English follows in the target language. I don't know any languages personally withou annoying and famous as adjectives, but I wouldn't rule out the possibility that they're out there! Furthermore, I just can't imagine myself saying either of those sentences anway -- is an equivalent of something that I would never say really something I would ever say?

The problem here is that I'd be more likely to describe someone as "really famous" than "very", and "really" is a problematic one for translation stuff, because as well as the to a high degree sense ("wow! That's really tasty!") it still can be used as a statement of truth (i.e. "in reality" -- "I said he was an idiot, but what he'd said wasn't really all that stupid...") Because of that, it's only really* the word "very" that is clear enough to avoid confusion.
* see? I really can't stop myself using the word now!

But this problem disappears to a large extent if you're making your own list for your own list: if it's something that you say, then you know intuitively what you would mean if you say it.
But then the problem that appears is how you're going to find something with an equivalent meaning in your TL, cos no-one else will have quite the same understanding of your L1 sentence intentions, so might give you a translation with a pretty significant change of meaning, and if you know the L2 well enough to come up with the equivalent for yourself, you already know it and probably won't learn anything by practicing the sentence.
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Re: Translation phrases

Postby bombobuffoon » Mon May 13, 2024 6:13 pm

Cainntear wrote:
bombobuffoon wrote:
DaveAgain wrote:You could perhaps use a TV screenplay, if there's an English language series available in your target language, translate the English yourself and compare that with the professional choice. I believe soaps and sitcoms are supposed to the closest to everyday speech.


Great idea, but not really practical for Finnish in terms of translation practice. As the translations tend to be sort of "artistically fit" to a scene, very little is verbatim translation. Its a great idea though to watch a film in English and read the Finnish subtitles, as I get exposed to whole new way of appreciating how sentences get interpreted. I also use a translation plugin to get a second pass of the literal translation of the subtitle. Definitely will do this.

But to clarify a bit I am looking more for phrase lists in English that I can attempt to translate, and then machine translate the sentences and compare that way.

I don't see the value in that.

Phrase lists risk leading you to memorise arbitrary phrases before you're ready to understand the principles behind them, and if the equivalent is idiomatically very different, there's a horrible tension between literal translation and idiomatic. Because phrase-based learning is often expecting the learner to induce the rules from examples, quite often the literal translation wins out, but then you've got people who refuse literal translation because the only idiomatic is what people actually say, and often you get people trying to balance this and falling completely between two stools.

The phrase list you've linked is showing a lot of the problems:

You've got "don't worry" given because it's seen as a useful fixed phrase, but you've got "he's very annoying" and "he's very famous" next to each other to deliberately demonstrate a grammatical point. But then again, that does assume that the pattern in English follows in the target language. I don't know any languages personally withou annoying and famous as adjectives, but I wouldn't rule out the possibility that they're out there! Furthermore, I just can't imagine myself saying either of those sentences anway -- is an equivalent of something that I would never say really something I would ever say?

The problem here is that I'd be more likely to describe someone as "really famous" than "very", and "really" is a problematic one for translation stuff, because as well as the to a high degree sense ("wow! That's really tasty!") it still can be used as a statement of truth (i.e. "in reality" -- "I said he was an idiot, but what he'd said wasn't really all that stupid...") Because of that, it's only really* the word "very" that is clear enough to avoid confusion.
* see? I really can't stop myself using the word now!

But this problem disappears to a large extent if you're making your own list for your own list: if it's something that you say, then you know intuitively what you would mean if you say it.
But then the problem that appears is how you're going to find something with an equivalent meaning in your TL, cos no-one else will have quite the same understanding of your L1 sentence intentions, so might give you a translation with a pretty significant change of meaning, and if you know the L2 well enough to come up with the equivalent for yourself, you already know it and probably won't learn anything by practicing the sentence.


Yeah as I said, I don't like that phrase list. I just don't find it that realistic. But don't confuse phrase based learning with translation practice.

I believe that phrases make for good translation practice for beginner level students. For the simple reason that they are(what I am seeking) more based off "concrete" language. There is a lot less scope for an explosion of various interpretations. "I am hungry" is a concrete statement, for example.

But speaking of custom lists, I have my own phrase list actually. Its already translated. Downside its fairly exhausting to make, and can take some time to build though. I found that if I record myself speaking out loud all day it elicits a lot of the language I use, and where my mind generally is.
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