Your Spanish Translator Options.

If you need to translate a text from Spanish to English by using the Internet, you have plenty of choices, but they all boil down to the two basic options: automatic translation and human translation.

If you need high-quality translation, it has to be done by a human, preferably a native speaker. Many companies offer translation services through the Internet. Prices, quality and speed vary dramatically. Make sure you know who exactly you are dealing with and ask for references, especially if you have a big project in mind. It is also a good idea to search Google for people's opinions about a particular company.

Google

If you want to translate from Spanish to English fast and free, the obvious choice is to use one of the many automatic translators. Simply use one of the links listed below and paste your text into the appropriate form. A translation will appear almost instantaneously, unless your connection is slow and the site is full of animated ads, or even worse, popups. Many sites will also let you paste a URL and see a complete page translated to your target language.

Unfortunately, quality of the translated text will be far from perfect. In all likelihood it will be apparent to any native speaker that the text was produced by a machine or somebody with only mediocre knowledge of the language.

It is important to understand that language translation is one of the most difficult branches of computer science and even state of the art software is a far cry from the translation devices you see in sci-fi movies.

As an example of what to expect, consider results of a completely unscientific test that we conducted using one of the most popular online translators. Please don't misconstrue this as a critique of this particular translation engine.

The test is simple. Take a phrase in English, translate it to Spanish, then translate the result back to English. You can do it to, it's actually a lot of fun! The beauty of this approach is that it lets you get an idea of how well the translation engine works even if you don't know Spanish. Keep in mind that the information gets distorted with each translation, so one-way translation results should be better.

First we tried a line from a love song:
English: If I fell in love with you would you promise to be true and help me understand?
Spanish translation: ¿Si caí yo en el amor con usted le hace promete ser verdad y me ayuda entiendo?
Back to English: If I I fell in the love with you causes promises him to be true and helps I understand me?

As expected, the translation gives you a good idea of what the song is about, however whatever the author wanted to say is open to interpretation.

Perhaps we will have better luck with some business marketing material?
English: From strategy and change to application innovation, here's how we get things done.
Spanish translation: De la estrategia y el cambio a la innovación de la aplicación, aquí está cómo obtenemos las cosas hechas.
Back to English: Of the strategy and the change to the innovation of the application, here is how do we obtain the done things.

You can see why companies decide to pay for professional translation services!

So what are online Spanish translators good for? Naturally, we decided to ask the computer:
English: So what the computer translation is good for anyway?
Spanish Translation: ¿Así que qué la traducción de la computadora es buena para de todos modos?
Back to English: So what the translation of the computer is good for at any rate?

Well, that was not so bad! As you can see, there is hope, so bookmark this page and stay tuned!


Some popular free Spanish to English translators:

Google

Dictionary.com

WorldLingo

Free2Professional Translation (also offers translation services at about $150 per 1000 words)


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    Updated on December 10, 2004.