Here you can get the home page of in English. It is divided into the following png-files: → p.1/4, → p.2/4, → p.3/4, → p.4/4.

→ back to the German home page/
zurück zu

The following text is not a word-for-word translation of my → German file (Warum Übersetzer-Software hohem Grade irreführend ist, so dass man vor deren Anwendung nur warnen kann.), but rather a kind of summary.

Why translation software is not even helpful, but very misleading, so we can only warn against its use.

A detailed analysis of mistakes in one specific case.
By →

        Whatever you think about the German home page, a proper translation can only respect as loyally as possible the style and content of the original text. In this case when a fully automated translation tool is working, the result is complete nonsense. Mature readers won´t be surprised: Robots simply haven´t got neither the faculty nor the competence to differentiate like a human being who could have had very complex experiences during a lot of years and on the most different levels.

If you click → here, you will receive the original text in German, p.1/4, → p.2/4, → p.3/4, → p.4/4, as it has been on the net on February 22nd, 2016. (This is almost superfluous because you can also click on the link above
'Back to the home page' to get the original German text; there are just minor changes, and no changes at all in the aphorisms.) If you click → here (p.1/5, → p.2/5, → p.3/5, → p.4/5, → p.5/5), you will get the fully automated translation into English as it appeared on the screen on November 24th, 2015, and if you click → here (p.1/4, → p.2/4, → p.3/4, → p.4/4, you´ll get the fully automated translation from the same provider as it appeared six months later on June 17th, 2016. And finally you´ll get my own translation into English as before in photographic files: → p.1/4, → p.2/4, → p.3/4, → p.4/4.

Let us take the purely English mistakes first, but without dwelling too much on them because, anyway, they will seem obvious to most of the English speaking readers.
       It might seem surprising however that an English robot cares so little about his own language. But why? Should he have a mother tongue?

Several times, the personal pronouns are used incorrectly, e.g. "he can only speak for themselves", such as the tenses, e.g.: "the pain produced despair if he persists" (in German the same sentence is written in the present tense). But the most striking mistake may be the following syntactic one: "The imposing so overwhelmingly materialism of science" such as the quotation from Kant in the beginning.

As to the computer program´s German vocabulary, it is not large enough to find words like "neuroticized", "uncheerful" or even "death". This might be due to a momentary defect which doesn´t matter so much... (yet, six months later, the same program does not manage to find the same words either.)

The so-called false friends are typical traps in the translating activity. In this case, however, the use of the false friends 'ratio'-'Ratio' in the very heading makes the latter all at once incomprehensible. In the German language, 'Ratio' never serves to describe a "relationship between two groups of people or things that is represented by two numbers showing how much larger one group is than the other"; it refers to the human reason, the intellect, rationality.

The newest translation software behaves like a clumsy child during its first exam, where it is allowed to use a dictionary for the first time: As it is very excited and in a big hurry, it cannot look whether the words it finds, really square with the meaning of the whole sentence. It just chooses the first meaning it can read in that rather long entry of its dictionary. 'Sicher' in German means 'secure, safe'; variations, adaptations or even completely different meanings are absolutely unnecessary in its naive view. So a "verschuldeter Irrtum" becomes an "indebted mistake" and, this time again, the textual meaning turns into nonsense, pure and simple.

A robot has not assimilated all the idiomatic phrases a language may contain, so in the German phrase ' in Unsicherheit schweben' – ' to be uncertain about sth.', he just insists on translating the verb 'schweben' although no German thinks of hovering over something when using this idiomatic expression.

A robot is not able to detect the subtleties of German negations, so he misses the letter 'k' in "kein Ende" – 'no end'. The result is the complete opposite of what the author wrote in his language: "But we thus come to an end" instead of: 'But we thus come to no end.' – He also misses the genitive form, the 's' in "a cardinal´s lie". –

The robot cannot feel nor even recognize the subtleties of the German subjunctive either: There are examples where the German verbal form 'sei' has to be translated as the corresponding indicative form 'ist', but in this context, the subjunctive is meant to express the author´s dissociation from what is being told to people in general.

Robots use to work with preconceived notions, in other words, they are rather stubborn in following for example this pseudo-logic that "folgenreich" contains the verb 'folgen' (to follow) and the noun 'Reich' (empire), so it certainly means "follow Empire"... without considering this other possibility: 'reich' is 'rich' in English, and the project is to say something that will be rich in consequences ('Folgen'). Or, let´s take this other example from Professor Hamer´s text in the end: according to the robot, 'heimatlos' has to mean: without a home, homeless – 'Heim' and 'los', but, in fact, another word exists in German besides 'Heim'; that is: 'die Heimat' (the homeland). So Mr. Hamer doesn´t mean that the high finance wants more and more people to become extremely poor, but that they want people to become more and more indifferent to their homeland.

The worst is still to come: That this automated translation is really leading astray becomes obvious as soon as the reader has a good look, first, at the following question: "Can it ever, in the face of evil, give a Supreme Being that is both completely?" In English, this is suggesting that God could be both evil and the supreme being. Dr. Rochol however has been very far from defending such a thoughtless idea. "ein höchstes Wesen, das zugleich vollkommen ist" literally means a "Supreme Being that is, at the same time, perfect" – inspite of all the evil in the world.

Second, there is still another sentence that proves to be wrong in the English version: "We will (all) have to get everything straight" means that we will 'make certain that someone knows the real facts about a situation'. This is not at all the same idea as 'to clear up everything very thoroughly'. In other words, the despair, which seems to be so familiar to this strange translating software that it starts by giving us a real drinking song ("drown, drown"), is exactly the opposite of what the author is actually offering to his readers.

Annette Rochol
in June 2016 and July 2017.