Today’s technology certainly helps the editor and translator. Instead of having to drag oneself to some library to verify some fact, a simple “Google Search” will usually find the required information.
One of my favorite lectures at the ITA convention this year was “Google Tips and Tricks for Translators,” presented by Hagit Azoulay-Rozanes (I am googling her name as I write this, but unfortunately can’t find a link to add here.) And to the request of one my good friends and colleagues, I will hereby present the main points of her talk.
I guess everyone knows the good ol’ search engine, where you type some word in and Google gives you 1,579,624,623 results in the blink of an eye. However, are you aware of the many ways to do an advanced search?
The easiest “advance” is the use of quotation marks to bind text together. E.g., if you want to find information on retrieving dogs, you would type “retrieving dogs” to restrict the outcome only to pages that specifically talk about “retrieving dogs” (18,500 results. Otherwise, of course, you would get all the pages that have the words in the text, (489,000) where the two words aren’t necessarily juxtaposed.
However, if you click on the “advanced search” button, you also have ways of excluding certain words, or searching for specific file formats, reading level, etc.
Azoulay-Rozanes also pointed out that google search can also supply instant information. For example, currency conversion. If you need to know how much $54 is in Japanese Yen, simply type “$54 in Yen” (no quotes). You will instantly receive the exact information ( not a link to the information; it will be right there at the top of the page). Try it! And then lets say you are flying from Brazil to Hungary and don’t even know the names of their currencies, try typing “Brazilian currency in Hungarian currency” (without the quotes). Google is so smart!
It also is a world clock. “Time in Kalamazoo” (again, no quotes) will reveal the time there at this instant.
There are some applications which are also really cool. Most people know Google Earth and Google Maps. If you’ve never explored them, you’ve got to! The satellite imagery is amazing, and you must experiment with that little yellow man (on top of the scaling bar) that you can drag to anywhere on the map. I just plopped him down in the middle of Nevada and was able to take a tour of the desert. I was once chatting with a guy in Hawaii, during which he told me his location and I could see a 3-D image of his Pizza Place. By the way, for a laugh, go into Google Maps and ask for instructions how to get from Taiwan to China; check out step no. 23. (I just got carried away googling, but check out this site. Those elephants are way too cool!) Gotta tear myself away from Google Maps. By the way, have you checked out the photo of your home? OK, enough already!
Back to tools.
Google Books. Search and preview millions of books from libraries and publishers worldwide using Google Book Search. Discover a new favorite or unearth an old classic. I will tell you a secret: during my editing course, I searched one of the questions (by typing in an exact phrase from one of them), and found the exact page that my teacher had photocopied for an exercise (with all the answers at the end of the chapter). Maybe I shouldn’t have admitted that.
Google Sets. This is really nifty. Try, for example, typing in Ferrari and see what happens. This can be useful when you know what the item is (e.g. a dog) but can’t remember the name of the breed you want. So type in Poodle and German Shepherd and you get a long list of breeds. Maybe that will remind you of the one you want. Also great for writers.
Google Translate. OK, this is often good for a laugh, but it can also be a great base for the eventual translation. I copied in the first four verses of Genesis, and this is what I got.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And the country was in chaos, darkness, the – the abyss; the spirit of God, was moving on – the water. And God said, Let there be light; And – light. God saw – the light, that – good; divided Christ, the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night; And – evening – morning, one day.
It’s not perfect (I somehow don’t think “Christ” should be there), but it is certainly a good start, and would save me a lot of time would I need to translate that.
However, Google Translate can also identify the language if you are not sure what it is! Amazing!
(There’s also a tool called Google Transliterate, but I could only get it to go from English to another language. )
Azoulay-Rozanes also gave us a tool for checking out what were the most-used terms in the news today, but my notes aren’t very good, and I can’t figure out what it is. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.
Next, Azoulay-Rozanes suggested a number of Google desktop tools for downloading that can be useful, especially the Google Toolbar, Google Chrome, and Google Desktop and Deskbar.
The Google Toolbar, if I’m not mistaken, can be used on any browser, and has instant translation, dictionary, thesaurus, bi-lingual dictionaries, professional dictionaries, searches within dictionaries, visual dictionaries and CAT (computer assisted translation). I haven’t downloaded it yet, so I hope my notes are accurate.
Google Chrome is an application to use as your browser (instead of Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox). Its advantage is that it instantly identified the language of a page, and will translate if for you. So you can go into a Japanese site and learn how to make sushi!
Google Desktop is useful if you know you have a document somewhere with some word in it, but can’t remember if it is some email. Google Desktop will search for it. With Google Deskbar, you can use ctrl+F to find any word on the screen (in a document or on a web-page). You can also type in a word and find definition, synonyms, context, etc. I haven’t explored this yet.
And finally, check out Google Labs. Apparently, Google allows all their employees a certain amount of time to just “fool around” with programs, and what you find in Google Lab is the outcome of their experimenting. (Google Sets is one of them).
The way computer technology is advancing, it’s no wonder that it’s hard to keep up to date with all the tools available.