Recommendations on Arabic/English translation software/websites?
September 21, 2006 6:14 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a free or cheap online translator for Arabic/English? (Actually, recommendations on more expensive ones are welcome too since I might be able to make a case for having my boss pay for it.) All I need is to get the basic gist of the Arabic. I know it's not going to be pretty -- that's okay. I've been using Google Translator which seems decent. I'm just wondering if there is an "industry standard." Ideally, I would LOVE to find something where I can feed in a Word document in Arabic and the translator spits out (an understandably rough) equivalent in English. But does such a thing exist?
posted by zharptitsa to Writing & Language (4 answers total)
Response by poster: And a follow-up question: I randomly just discovered that if I highlight a phrase in Arabic in a Word doc and right-click on it, I have the option to "translate." Apparently, does the translation. However, for the Arabic phrase اسم مجري المقابلة , WorldLingo came up with: "Hungarian name opposite" whereas Google came up with "The name of the course interview" (which makes more sense to me given the context). Does anyone know if it is possible to change the default translate option in Word to another service (i.e., from WorldLingo to Google) or is this some deal that Microsoft and whoever owns WorldLingo put together?
posted by zharptitsa at 6:53 PM on September 21, 2006

I know nothing whatever about how good it is, but this may be what you're looking for. Or maybe not; I'm not sure if it goes from Arabic to English.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:03 PM on September 21, 2006

If I remember correctly - Systran is the software company that powers Google's online translations. They have a bunch of software you can buy for doing exactly what you're after. Giving it a word doc and getting back the "gist". Machine translation stinks - but if you know that going into it and you aren't looking for anything near perfection - Systran is the best there is.
posted by Wolfie at 9:13 PM on September 21, 2006

As with many things in this world, you get what you pay for. I can recommend you a cheap plumber, a cheap car, a cheap wine and a cheap Arabic translator. Unfortunately, all will probably be cheap in every sense of the word. Systran is a case in point. It is not the best machine translation system, merely the least bad. Gisting Arabic will get you what you have already found out with your Hungarian name opposite. You may get something that you can vaguely understand with Spanish (I stress may); you almost certainly will not with Arabic. Bite the bullet and pay the money and contact ATA.
posted by TheRaven at 6:07 AM on September 22, 2006

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