November 26, 2010

How do you say Librarian in Chinese? Testing Google Translate



Selma sent me the Chinese characters for librarian (圖書管理員), which immediately sent me on yet another research adventure (so typical of us librarians!).

Choose your Own Research Adventure #Umpteenty-two:

How do you say the word "Librarian" in different languages?

Using a regular Google search, I typed in my word, and the language I wanted it translated to.

"Translate (librarian) to (Spanish)"

Up came a reference to translate.google.com, with translations available for over 50 languages.

So, these are the languages that piqued my curiosity:

LIBRARIANS ALL AROUND THE WORLD
(some of the links have audio translations)
Afrikaans bibliotekaris
Arabic أمين المكتبة‎
Basque - liburuzainak
Chinese traditional 圖書管理員 Túshū guǎnlǐ yuán
Filipino katiwala ng aklatan
French - bibliothécaire
Haitian Creole - bibliyotekè
Hebrew - >ספרן
Irish (Gaelic) - leabharlannaí
Hindi - लाइब्रेरियन (lā'ibrēriyana)
Icelandic - bókasafnsfræðingur
Indonesian - pustakawan
Japanese shisho 司書
Spanish - bibliotecario (m) or bibliotecaria (f).
Russian - библиотекарь bibliotekarʹ
Slovenian - knjižničar
Swahili - maktaba
Turkish kütüphaneci
Vietnamese thư viện

An interesting feature of Google Translate is that readers can submit translations if they think they can improve upon the translation displayed. Simply hover over the translated text to submit.

This was fun for finding individual words, but I was curious as to how accurate phrases are. I tried translating "reading a book" to Estonian and "I love reading" to Spanish. I have no idea if the Estonian translation is correct, but "I love reading" in Spanish brought up "Me encanta leer".  This led me to the YouTube clip above, which explains how Google Translate works:  everything is computer-generated, compiled from documents gathered throughout the Internet in a matter of seconds-- very interesting!

The only thing I'm disappointed about is that the Hawaiian language isn't included.

I am now reining myself back to the task at hand ... but, I'll be on another choose my own research adventure soon, you can bet on it!

(Thanks, Selma!)

(◕‿◕)

Related:
The Official Google Translate Blog
Top 10 Services that use Google Translate
Google Language Tools  Review - rated 4 out of 5 by appappeal.com