In my opinion, MTL is like a form of art and like most art, it requires intuition and creativity to be successful. In addition, it is highly interpretive. Like a movie director, directing his team of actors and staff to convey the feelings of each character in all of the scenes of a film, the person MTL-ing has to carefully choose the right words to build each sentence that most appropriately communicates the author’s intent.
In language, many words have duel meanings. When a person is reading a word in context, the proper meaning is conveyed however, when words go through MTL, this isn’t always the case. As a result, an alternate use of the word is translated in a sentence, making the sentence confusing to understand.
Another factor to consider when reading an MTL-ed sentence is how each language uses particular words to convey meaning. Slang, pop-culture and local dialects greatly impact the meaning of sentences. In addition, the rules of grammar that structure a language effect translation. MTL is very poor at capturing the nuances of language. Taking into account the different algorithms that are used in MTL, various contradictions can occur.
Fun Fact: The Seven different Frogs
- A small tailless amphibian of the order Anura that typically hops.
- The part of a violin bow (or that of other similar string instruments such as the viola, cello and contrabass) located at the end held by the player, to which the horsehair is attached.
- The depression in the upper face of a pressed or handmade clay brick.
- An organ on the bottom of a horse’s hoof that assists in the circulation of blood.
- A leather or fabric loop used to attach a sword or bayonet, or its scabbard, to a waist or shoulder belt.
- An ornate fastener for clothing consisting of an oblong button (covered with netted thread), toggle, or knot, that fits through a loop.
- The part of a railway switch or turnout where the running-rails cross (from the resemblance to the frog in a horse’s hoof).
By no means am I a linguist nor have studied other languages seriously, but having learned a little bit of Spanish, German, Finnish and Japanese, I feel that the flow of language itself influences how one perceives the information.
When you combine all of these factors, you get a lot of weird stuff coming out of MTL. In order to create a meaningful sentence, one has to do a lot of dissection and analysis.
For example, you might see something like:
- His favorite orange veg, nice to do yesterday with friend.
- If the scene takes place in a gym or sports center, then the characters are they probably playing the sport squash. But, if the characters are in a kitchen or grocery store, then more likely the not, they are dealing with the vegetable squash.
- Today In the pool activity, she went back and forth ten laps.
- This sentence is rather awkward and would be more easily understood if it was written simply as: She swam ten laps today.
Think of a game of darts on a target. If translation is like the skill of how someone throws a dart, then:
A bilingual person who has lived in both countries for many years would be able to throw darts at the bullseye every time. A bilingual person who knows a second language but hasn’t lived in that foreign country would be able to hit the bullseye but also frequent the first layer ring outside the center. As a person becomes less and less knowledgeable about a second language the greater portion of darts are distributed further away from the center. MTL darts are distributed all over; sometimes it hits the mark, while at others, it completely misses the target all together. It is up to the person MTL-ing to notice the outlaying darts and by applying logical reasoning and use of intuition and creativity, rein them back in towards the center.
Knowing how much MTL strips translation into its basic communicative form, as much as it is possible, I want to reestablish the layers of complexity in language with my MTL translations for better reading enjoyment. This is what I do:
First step: Translating
- Open the original text in a window.
- Open your word processor in a separate window.
- Open a web browser.
- Open different tabs for each web-translator
- Open different tabs for each web-translator
- Copy one sentence of the original text and paste it into each translator window.
- Copy each translation from the browser window and paste them into the word processor document one by one.
- Repeat for each sentence.
Second step: Editing
- Read the set of translated sentences.
- Check all vocabulary words for proper word usage.
- Isolate specific characters for better understanding.
- Reread paragraphs and subsequent MTL for areas with confusing language.
- Maintain the author intent and make a cohesive thought.
- Using the MTL as a framework, rewrite the thought into English sentences with hopefully, proper grammar.
With each and every sentence in the book that I edit, I ask myself:
- Whose voice is this sentence coming from?
- Where is the character located in the story/what actions are they doing?
- What are the feelings the character is going through and what feeling is the author trying to express?
- Here, the MTL gave a contradictory statement.
- —- Knowing that someone will always protect themselves makes it easy to not think ahead
- —- Know someone will always protect themselves, it is easy to think ahead
- —- Knowing that someone will always protect themselves, it is easy not to think ahead.
- —- Knowing that someone will always protect themselves is easy for them to avoid making progress
- —- Knew some people can protect own continuously, easy not to think enterprising
- Evaluating the sentence in the context of the story, I create the English:
- Knowing that there is someone nearby who is always looking out for your best interest and well-being, it is easy to live without a plan for the future, day-by-day, worry free.
- When MTL returns rather nonsensical words.
- —- Gu Yu added: “No wonder you’re such an adult are still milky
- —- Gu added: “No wonder you are so big people are still smelly and not dry
- —- Gu Xiao added another sentence: “no wonder you are so grown-up are still callow.”
First, I check to make sure milk isn’t actually spilled on the character. MTL isn’t normally very literal. However, there are always cases here and there that will catch you by your toes. In any case, once rereading the previous chapter and looking ahead, it becomes clear whether or not something literal is going on or something metaphorical is being expressed.
Knowing the personality of the character who says this, I know it is some sort of jibe. In the context of the scene when the character just witnessed the family’s overbearing interactions, then I have to conclude one character is teasing the other for being a bit of a ‘momma’s boy’. Inspired by the word milky, what better way to express a momma’s boy then with someone who is being breastfed.
- Hence, I edited the sentence to:
- Gu Yu also teased: “You are all grown up but are still being breastfed!”
Happy MTL-ing !
Now that you have a glimpse of how I like to MTL, perhaps you will like to give it a try!