It’s 21 years since I lived in France.
Amongst other things I translated kids TV cartoons from French into English! I’m now trying, once and for all, to get my written French in order courtesy of:
- OpenLearn French
- Google Translate
- A MOOC in French (ABC of business start ups if I have understood what is going on!!)
- And the threat of legal action from the owners of my late Father’s timeshare flat in the French alps (he died 11 years ago … ). Only this week have they finally acknowledge my letters – probably because I chose to write in pidgin French rather than bolshy English.
When I want to write in French I give it a stab, stick it through Google Translate then jig my English around until I get what I would have said in French out of the other end. (I can speak French – like a Belgian I am told).
When I read any tricky French I paste it into Google Translate and adjust until, once again, it has the sense of what I would have understood had I simply heard it spoken to me.
The test is how quickly will I be found out in an all French MOOC.
The only issue is that hopping around computers in our house (My teenage son has a couple of huge screens which I particularly enjoy using while he is at school) – I found one viewing of the MOOC was being automatically translated – which can in itself be quite a laugh. But at what point will such translation be seamless, at least to the non-linguists? At what point will it suffice as an adequate stab at what is being said and meant by what is being said?
Will be have a Babel Fish in our ear along with the Google Glass(es)?