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I was translating sentences on Google translate just for fun, and then I typed this sentence: " I went across the swamp and found a cigarette. " When it translated to Latin, it gave words that sounded familiar but funny when you think about their English equivalents. Considering the English equivalent of the words translated, the translation sounded something like: " I a bit trans-ported through stagnant water and invented a joint. "
I am aware that a lot of people use Google translate simply because it is the most convenient translator found online and definitely the most known one: everyone knows about Google translate. Today, it is even available as an App. So, is Google translate good for Latin? Can it pass some basic checks? I say, yes. We all know that typing in the sentences will never get you the correct translation. It will always be a rudimentary translation in the Neanderthal-like speech. However, when it comes to translating words by themselves, Google translate is quick and efficient and fairly accurate. I have tested it out and I say that the results are good so far. When I typed in "see" I received a whole range of synonyms from video to specto and what I liked was the fact that each of these had at least five or six translations. This means that you at least know what the word roughly means, i.e. "see in what way" or "when to use which "see" verb" They usually come in the first person, which is also good, considering that the dictionary entries are always in the first person, so you can always go somewhere else for more information. Same was with the nouns. I tested it with "sea" and just like in the previous example, I received a lot of synonyms. Google Translate Latin However, you have to be aware of one great disadvantage: Google translate doesn't tell you the grammatical specifications!! For example, when it comes to the verb, Google translate only gives you the first person form. You don't know to which verb class the given verb belongs, which limits your usage maximally - you have to go somewhere else to find out that fact. Same is with nouns. You only get the nominative form, nothing else. This is why you don't know the basic information about the noun: not its gender and certainly not its class. So, is Google translate good? Yes, it's good. It can be used as a quick-access tool which can give you the rudimentary information about the word you type in. However, it is not perfect. When it comes to grammar, you're on your own. This is why it might be a better option to use some other translator, which does give you this information. I believe that I have already written about them in one of my previous posts, so if you're interested, go back and check it out. Google translator is the most widely used translator online. But it is not the best. This is especially true for languages such as Latin.