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Translation Web Sites

George G. Morgan wrote in his "Along Those Lines ..." blog:

George G. Morgan's " Along Those Lines ... " Blog - Translation Web Sites: "At some point in your genealogical research, you will want and need to translate some document from one language to another. Libraries are a fine place to lay hands on a language translation dictionary for this purpose, but it can be very tedious indeed to work word by word, and then there is no guarantee that you have a grasp on the syntax, grammar, and masculine/feminine variations."
"I'd like to share with you some of the best language translation Web sites available today. I hope you will find support for your target languages among these translators. Some of these, however, may require you to go to your browser company's Web site (such as Microsoft) and download/install the character set. These include simplified and traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Greek, and Russian Cyrillic. This will be the case with all of the translators listed below."

George then discusses several translation websites, including AltaVista:

"AltaVista was one of the earliest Web sites, actually a search engine, to provide translation. Its Babel Fish translator can be found at the AltaVista site (http://www.altavista.com/) and translates between many of the common languages. The search results also allow you to translate on the fly.

I tried AltaVista on a Dutch birth act. The translation opened:

Present pine sixteenths May eighteen hundred five and fifty, compareerde for our Joannes Antonius the Sonneville alderman civil servant of pine Burgerlijken score of the municipality The Hague: Theodorus Pardoen, old seven and twenty years, verwer, living alhier.

This paragraph does not really make sense to me. It seems that AltaVista is not (yet?) able to translate genealogy records. Free online translation websites like AltaVista may help you to get the gist of a Dutch article, but are not very useful for (Dutch) genealogy records.

George Morgan also mentioned e-transcriptum, a website where you can send in a transcription that will then be translated by human translators. If you have any records that need translation, e-transcriptum may be worth checking out. Note: I have no experience with them (I did not know they existed until now).

The next issue of my newsletter will have a short article on translating Dutch acts.

Check out my list of words and phrases if you want to translate a Dutch act yourself.

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