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machine translations, etc.


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Wangerland is a region of Niedersachsen/Lower Saxony which has now incorporated several separate towns into one municipal entity.

 

If I search Wangerland in Alamy with the language set to English, there are 107 results. If I switch the language to German, the same search has 0 results. Problem is, Germans are probably the only buyers likely to be searching this term. I'm not sure if there are other instances of this, as I've only recently come across it.

 

I have some other related doubts about the effectiveness of machine translation, however. Sometimes the machine-translated term is not one anybody would be searching and it would be better to leave it in the original.

 

The launch of alamy.de in 2011 was an excellent move, but it appears there are still some interlingual bugs to be worked out.

 

 

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I always try to remember to include the original language's proper nouns (Roma and Rome). But English is the language of the stock business, no? 

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Machine / computer translation from English for single words is impossible.

Imagine you have 'tip' as one of your keywords. How can a computer know how to translate it? Is it the point of something, a rubbish dump, a piece of good advice, the end of a snooker cue, money left for a waiter? Those meanings all have completely different words in German (and other languages).

If you do a search for "Trinkgeld" on the German site (a 'tip' left for a waiter, a gratuity) you get all the same results as if you'd searched for 'tip' - pointy pencils, icebergs, orange-tip butterflies, white-tipped sharks, rubbish dumps - which have absolutely no relevance to someone looking for money added on to a bill (and 'bill' could be an invoice, a banknote, a duck's beak...). A German with a good knowledge of English might work out what's happened, but to others it would be a complete nonsense.

Computer translation does not work. If every word in every language had only one meaning, and every concept had only one word, it might.

Edited by Phil Robinson
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Search terms are automatically translated. If I am in the German site and put in Wangerland, and then change the language to English, it is converted to Wanger country. No one ever calls it that. One way would be to attempt translation of words, perhaps, but leave proper names intact. Leave it up to the photographers to do as Ed said, put in both München and Munich, Köln and Cologne, etc.

 

Then again, considering the tip example, how about skipping machine translation altogether? If I want German buyers then it could be my responsibility to include Brücke as well as bridge.

Edited by DDoug
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Then again, considering the tip example, how about skipping machine translation altogether? If I want German buyers then it could be my responsibility to include Brücke as well as bridge.

 

I agree. I've never been in favour of it. I have never been one of those people who expects the whole world to speak English, but in this case sticking to the English language would, I think, loose fewer sales than the mayhem caused by machine mistranslation.

I also include foreign place names in keywords - Venezia, Praha, Milano - and I know they have been used in searches. I think it's impractical to do it for all potential search terms.

 

People who contributed to the short-lived Photoshelter library will remember the time-consuming and arduous process of keywording which included, for each keyword you entered, selecting the relevant meaning of that word. It took ages, it drove most contributors to drink, but that is the only way keyword translation could work. Unfortunately.

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