Diccionario de la lengua española:

Diccionario de la lengua española:

Nowadays with the extended and massive use of the web, it is rather easy to find a good dictionary online that you can trust. Although there are actually very good and useful translators in the web, sometimes our choice must be defined by our needs.

Unlike many other translators, the Diccionario de la lengua española is the online version of the official and updated dictionary of the Real Academia Española. So, we should not expect a wide range of languages to choose from nor a variety of options. This precise tool is exactly what it claims to be, the best and only oficial web resource to trust when we are looking for the exact and correct form of a word. So this is, of course, just a one way spanish dictionary.

Its use is simple, we just have to go to www.rae.es and fill the first field that appears in the home screen, the one labelled with the name of the dictionary. Once we have typed the word we are willing to search, we press enter or we click the arrow in the right hand side of the search field.

Once we have done the search we will be shown the exact definition of the word, as well as its different meaning ranging in relevance from higher to lower. In the same line of every meaning, we find the morphological category of the word. In some cases we might as well find explanatory abbreviations that will help us understand the use normally given to the word or information such as the country or region where that exact meaning of the word is used.

In the image below we can see an example of a word with different meanings and how the dictionary efficiently manages to show details and explanations about the category of the words and the contexts and expressions it is more commonly used with. After all the definitions and meanings, we can find other term entries for the compound words containing the word in the search. Some of this terms can refer to technical terminology and will always be explained by an abbreviation related to the field of study where we will find such meaning.

Here are some of the abbreviations used in this entry that will help us get a global idea of the criteria used in the dictionary:

-adj. stands for adjetivo. (adjective).

-m. stands for nombre masculine (masculine noun).

-Coloq. stands for colloquial (colloquial).

-Guat. Stands for Guatemala.

-U.t.c.s. stands for usado también como sustantivo (also used as a noun).

-Arq. stands for Arquitectura (architecture).

-Anat. stands for Anatomía (anatomy).

-loc.verb. stands for locución verbal (verb phrase).

Once we have used it for a while we can easily find out that this dictionary is the best available for Spanish definitions, not merely as it is the only official one, but also because they have managed to make a reliable online version without disregarding the details found in the paper volumes. Moreover, with this dictionary we will also be able to find the most determinant information about every term we search, and find the meaning of each abbreviation included in the description by just pointing it.

To sum up we must point out that is a powerful search engine that provides the best reference in the web for any Spanish word and all the meanings accepted by the official institution RAE. The adaptation of the volumes and the new rules make it a perfect solution for those who seek the most updated material in Spanish and they want to be meticulous.

By using this online dictionary we can be sure that every result of our searches has been studied for along time by some of the best scholars. And that not only means accuracy but also durability.

This dictionary is enough technical and yet simple to fit almost everyone’s needs; from casual readers to professional researchers.


Google Translate:

When we refer to Google, we instantly think about the most popular, fast and powerful search engine on the web. Although Google’s finest and most successful service to date is actually their search engine, the company is moving forward to offer other high quality services based on the web.

Their translator has now become not just the most popular worldwide, but also a reference in terms of mainstream translation and language resources. Google Translate can translate any kind of text (including websites) into a huge variety of languages.

Apparently the success of this translator is the massive amount of words that it can handle. It is based on statistics and the main corpus of the system is based on more than a billion words. Today, the Google Translate service offers a variety of 52 languages to choose from.

To start translating a text we only have to use the intuitive user interface where we can type or paste the text we want to be translated and choose the language it is written in and the language we want the text to be translated to.  We can also import a document straight from our computer or external memory device. To do so, we must click on the “translate a document” option right below the text field.

After having used it in various occasions we will for sure be convinced about its simplicity of use, and that is exactly what it is: a simple and very powerful online free translation tool. But we cannot expect this online translator to function as professional human. It is an automatic translator and with a few minutes of use we can easily identify that.

For example I have noticed that small texts give better translation results than larger ones. Also, paragraphs with smaller clauses and well structured ones. In very long texts it would be useful to divide the text into various portions in order to get better final results. Sometimes the translator will not be able to distinguish between prepositions or pronouns that can only be used in certain ways in the original language for the text.

As we can see in the image below as an example, the accuracy of the translator is simply incredible, but of course the result is not perfect and it lacks grammaticality.

These are some of the problems that I have come across:

Punctuation: The so common use of the coma in Spanish, is often a problem when translating into English. One of the first things we can perceive when translating particularly long pieces, is that the wrong and useless use of the comas in the final English version makes the result artificial in form. The use of dashes is also a recurrent mistake by the translator.

Verbs and Nouns: Some nouns that in English can be used as non inflected forms of a verb, are usually translated as nouns into Spanish and viceversa.

Compound words: The Google translator has definitely problems when translating words that come together as a single unit. It tends to change the meaning of the word when translating from English into Spanish and usually translates the compounds as separate words when the translation is into Spanish.

Determiners: The translator usually lacks the use of determiners  when translating from English to Spanish. This is often related to clauses where names are the subjects. Also, the translator fails when at differentiating between the Spanish “de” and “del”.

We must point out that the most common errors with prepositions have been solved almost completely.

Honestly, I think we are in front of the best free translator available now. It offers not just a very good way to approach the first draft of a translation, but also the usefulness of such a fast service powered by Google. It is certainly impressive.

Slang Site:

When we are learning a language one of the problems we come across when we want to practice and test our fluency in a native speaker context, it is common that the speakers of the language we are learning usually use terms that we do not know. Some will be words that will not appear in a normal dictionary as they are part of the cultural or regional slang.

In English, slang words are not always offensive or inappropriate, sometimes they are just words that are only used in certain areas, or very specific words that are usually created to refer to cultural items.

Now, we have tools to identify those words and understand their meanings. In www.slangsite.com we can find a very useful list of terms that are used in common slang English. The site is specially recommended for those looking for words used in the UK English varieties.

The quality of the references found in this dictionary is simply amazing. You can find very common words and also terms that are used just in specific areas.

The user interface is pretty uncomfortable as it lack a search engine, but we can browse the words by their initial letter. Probably, this is not the smartest way to look up for words, but it is certainly worth it. The asthetic and the colours of the site at least, are suitable for reading.

Here are a couple of captions to see how it is structured and how it looks like:

In the caption right above we can see a definition of the verb “to mither”. This particular example shows how incredibly precise this resource is. From my experience I can tell that this is such a particular word from the Yorkshire dialects that not many people know, not even in the UK. Below “mithering” we can also find the acronym “MITIN”.

The reference to acronyms of new use is one of the main features of this dictionary as it does not only provide a meaning and the actual words it stands for, but it also gives examples of its use.

To conclude, we must claim that this is not the most smart or powerful online resource to look up words, but it is certainly an amazing dictionary with thousands of entries based on real slang words and examples of their use. There is undoubtedly a lot of work behind this tool.


I want to speak about the WordReference free dictionary because I always use it when I’m looking for the definition of some words that I don’t know.

This dictionary is only used to translate words but no texts. It tooks the terms from famous dictionaries such as ” Espasa Calpe” or -“Oxford” , for this reason it is a great combination of both dictionaries.

For example:

Oxford dictionary has 100.000 words and phrases with more than 200.000 translattions to many languages.
The Spanish- English dictionary of Espasa Calpe has more than 120.000 words and 250.000 meanings.

The ” Diccionario de la lengua española” of Espasa Calpe is a new one which are going to be very useful for Spanish people mostly.
The synonymous and antonimous dictionary has 30.000 words and 200.000 synonymous and antonimous.
And the rest of dictionaries grow up each day.

It has five dictionaries to use:

English-Spanish (and viceversa)

English- French ( and viceversa)

English- Italian( a.v)

English – German (a.v)

Enflish- Russian (a.v).

Apart from that, in Wordreference you can do selective searches; for example you can look for all the words that keep relaton with “astronomy” just putting the word “astro”. Moreover, you can understand better the words because this dictionary give you some sentences in which the searched word is used. It is fantastic!!

WordReference is much than a symple dictionary, apart from give us the translation and definition of a word it can do much more. It also help people with the conjugations of verbs, and with grammatical features.

I really love this dictionary because it is very helpful. When you don’t undersand a definition the dictionary sometimes ( when the word that you want define is objective)give you an image of that word.

For example if you are looking the definition of movile phone and you don’t understand the explanation, you can click in “images” and the dictionary gives you an image of a mobile phone ( this image is from the google).

For those who want to listen how a word is pronounced, WorfReference have the solution. By clicking on the symbol of the loudspeaker you can listen and know how the searched word is pronounced.

To me, the most important part of this dictionary are the languages forums where people who have a question about language usage, translation, grammar, pronunciation, expressions or even about the etymology of the words and sentences can ask about it to the webmasters ( proffesionals of the language) that are behind the dictionary and they will answer all the questions and give these people solutions. Nowadays there are more than 25.000 supporters of this dictionary. In these forums you can also find languages sush as: Greek, German, Chinese, Turkish, Rumanian and Latin.

You can listen and see how this free dictionary works in this link:

Wordreference dictionary is wonderful because is one of the best programs that Internet has created first of all because you have not to pay for use it, you don’t have to download it, it has conjugate verbs and much more details that you have to see when go into it!


Wordreference dictionary; http:/www.wordreference.com/es/, Retrieved March 05 , 2011
Wordreference: free dictionary, http://es.scribd.com/doc/3410222/WordReference-Diccionario-en-linea. Retrieved March 05, 2011
WordReference, http:/youtube.com/ Retrieved June 10, 2011

El corpus lingüístico

Si buscamosla palabra “corpus” como tal en un diccionario como “El Larousse”, encontraremos como significado “recopilación de materiales, datos, etc,…sobre una materia” o “fiesta religiosa”.

Sin embargo muchos de nosotros todavia no sabemos que este término tambien se utiliza para nombrar a un conjunto de textos almacenados en formato electrónico o html y utilizados para estudiar una lengua o una variedad lingüística mediante el empleo de las modernas tecnologías de la información.
Los corpus tienen que ser creados para poder ser utilizados en el medio informático. Primero tienen que ser analizados para que tras este análisis se pueda relacionar una palabra mediante una entrada y tras esto deben ser etiquetados, es decir, se tiene que tomar la categoria y los rasgos sintácticos significativos de cada palabra.

Hay dos tipos de corpus:
-Corpus textuales: Estos se clasifican según la razón por la que han sido creados y segun su contenido.

-Corpus de la lengua general con fines generales, como son ( CREA), ( CORDE), ( ARTHUS), ETC…; estos pretenden dar respuesta a un proposito con creto como puede ser el estudio de ciertos aspectos de la gramática o el léxico de la lengua o incluso de las diversas variedades linguisticas.

Los fines específicos del corpus son los creados para que se utilicen en textos técnicos, son elaborados por empresas. Un ejemplo de ellos es el llamado “LAN”.

– Corpus orales:se clasifican en dos categorias: corpus para el estudiao de la lengua oral y corpus para el desarrollo de aplicaciones en tecnologias del habla.

El corpus utilizado para el estudio de la lengua oral tiene como fin caracterizar desde un punto de vista linguistico la lengua hablada, aqui encontramos los corpus generales y los especificos.

-El corpus utilizado para el desarrollo de aplicaciones en la tecnologia del habla tiene como objetivo desarrollar aplicaciones para el entrenamiento y evaluación de los sistemas de reconocimiento.

Utilizando todos estos mecanismos creados en 1967 por Nelson Francis y Henry Kucera , podemos estudiar la lengua y todas sus variedades. El lingüísta que más ha utilizado esta técnica fue Chomski y desde entonces hasta nuestros dias esta técnica ha seguido siendo utilizada por la mayor parte de los lingüístas.

En conclusión, la linguística del corpus ha sido y sigue siendo utilizada para intentar analizar e identificar las estructuras y los rasgos linguísticos de cada idioma.Para ello se emplean analisis cuantitativos y cualitativos, en estos analisis se bucan:
las concordancias, las categorias gramaticales, los rasgos linguisticos de cada categoria:adverbios, vervos, pronombres, adjetivos, sustantivos.. tras el analisis exaustivo de todos estos rasgos se procede en segundo lugar a desarrollar un programa que identifique cada rasgo y que tras ello realice agrupamientos de los rasgos linguisticos.
Los ordenadores e Internet han sido lo suficientemente inteligentes como para poder archivar numerosos textos electronicos, descargados de la Web y elaborar un corpur de los mismos.
Hoy en día, con las herramientas que están dentro de nuestro sistema operativo cualquier persona puede crear corpus lingüísticos.



  1. LINGüISTICA, http://aportes.educ.ar/lengua/nucleo-teorico/influencia-de-las-tic/tecnologias-de-la-informacion-y-la-comunicacion-tic-y-lingueistica/lingueistica_de_corpus.php, 2010
  2. Conrad, S. y D. Biber (eds.) (2001) Variation in English: Multi-dimensional studies. London: Longman.
  3. Biber, D., S. Conrad y R. Reppen (1998) Corpus Linguistics: Investigating Language Structure and Use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  4. Kennedy, Graeme (1998) An Introduction of Corpus Linguistics. London: Longman.
  5. Mc Carthy, M. (1998) Spoken Language & Applied Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  6. Stubbs, M. (1996) Text and Corpus Analysis. Computer assisted Studies of Language and Culture. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
  7. Corpus lingüisticos, http://lorien.die.upm.es/juancho/pfcs/AJP/cap4.pdf

Google Translate

There are dozens of machine translators on the web, but probably none of them is as used as Google Translate. This does not necessarily mean that this machine translation is the best one created, but it is a good choice for someone who is looking for a free translator. Of course, we should always bear in mind that a machine is never as precise  as a human, so we can never totally rely on the translation given. There are always quite a lot of mistakes, especially in long sentences and texts.

To begin with this article,  I think it is quite interesting to know a little bit more about machine translation, so before continuing reading, you should take a look at this article I wrote some time ago. As I assume that you already know a little bit about machine translation, I will start talking about Google Translate.

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The British National Corpus

I am going to write this article about the British National Corpus, but as I’m sure many people won’t know what a corpus is, I think it is important that I give an explanation. That is why I am going to start by writing a few lines on corpora in general, and then I will focus my article on the British National Corpus, trying to explain how it works.


What is a corpus?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a corpus is “a collection of written or spoken material in machine-readable form, assembled for the purpose of linguistic research”.

The plural word to corpus is usually “corpora”.

What are they used for?

They are used to store words, whose features can be analyzed by means of tagging and use of concordancing programs, and they help studying linguistic competence. They are used to do statistical analysis and hypothesis testing, checking occurrences or validating linguistic rules on a specific universe.

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Dictionary: Wordreference

WordReference is a free online dictionary used by thousands of people all around the world as it involves some of the most important languages in the world: English, Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese. They are divided into the pairs English-French, English-Italian, English-Spanish, Spanish-Portuguese and English-Portuguese.

Although it might seem that these are not many languages, in fact French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese represent around 93% of the Romance language speakers in the world, which, as far as I am concerned, is quite a lot.

In 2009, more language pairs were added: English-German, English-Russian, English-Romanian, English-Polish, English-Czech, English-Greek, English-Turkish, English-Chinese, English-Japanese, English-Korean and English-Arabic, but they are still in progress of being finished.

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REVIEW: Google Translate


In this review, I will make a detailed description of one of the most famous online translators in Internet, that is to say Google translator. Then, we will compare it with other three translators: Yahoo Babel Fish and Reverso.

Google Translate is a language resource which is able to translate texts, web pages and documents into different languages. This online linguistic tool appeared on 2006 and it is one of the most used translators around the world. It was created by Google Inc. There are two versions available of Google Translate.  The first one was designed for iPhone users in 2008 and this translator cover about 23 different languages. Then, the second one was developed as an Android version which was divided mainly into two options: “ SMS translation” and “History”.

The incorporation of languages available in the translators was progressive. There were 23 stages. The first combinations were English- French, English- German, and English- Spanish. Nowadays it is possible to find a different translation for the word.


The method used by Google Translator is statistical method translation.  This statistical method translation was created due to a bilingual text corpus which contained about a million words. In addition, a second corpora of a billion words is incorporated in the statistical method and the technology which supports this translation tool is SYSTRAN.


The use of Google Translator is very easy. To start with, we have to choose the languages we want to work with. There are 52. Then we have to paste the text we have chosen to translate and paste on the box. Once we have done it, we press the button “translate” we wait until the translation appears on an open window with the translated version. If we want to translate a document, we simply press the option “translate a document”. It will appear a box with the option “examinar”. Then we have to choose the document and automatically the translator will do its job.


When we are working with an online translator, we have to take into account that as an automatic tool it has its advantages as for instance: speed and an easy use when we want to work with a text. However, as it is not a human translation, usually the translations of the original texts are far from being precise, accurate and above they are characterized by a lack of naturalness and coherence.

In order to check the competence of the translator, we have decided to translate two texts of different nature. The first one is a literary text, particularly a poem, in this case a sonnet written by William Shakespeare in 1609. The title of the poem is “ Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”. In the next slides we can see the original text, the translated version and my own translation.




Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:              
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.


Voy a compararte con un día de verano?
Tú eres más hermoso y más templado de arte:
Vientos ásperos agitan los capullos favorito de mayo,
Y el arrendamiento de verano tiene todo demasiado corta una fecha:
En algún momento muy caliente el ojo del cielo brilla,
Y a menudo es su tez de oro dimm’d;
Y todas las ferias de la disminución razonable en algún momento,
Por casualidad o cambiando el rumbo de la naturaleza untrimm’d;
Pero tu eterno verano no se marchitará
Tampoco pierde la posesión de ese owest eres justo;
Tampoco se aplicará la Muerte jactarse wander’st tú en su sombra,
Cuando en las líneas eterna a growest tú tiempo:
Mientras los hombres pueden respirar o los ojos pueden ver,
En tanto esta vida y esto le da vida a ti.


Due to the automatic nature of the translator, there is a group of errors which are repeated along the poem. When we are working with a translation tool, we have to keep in mind that it will never be the same as a human translation. In addition, it is not the same to translate a short text with easy grammatical structures and phrases than translating a long text with rhetorical figures. In this particular case, I have chosen a poem from the 15th– 16th century to prove the limitations that translators like Google Translate offer. We have to consider that languages evolve and this particular translator we are commenting on, was created in 2009 so the translation is going to be difficult. In the Basically the main mistakes made by the translator were:

Lack of translation of certain words. Probably the main reason to these mistakes was the “apostrophe”. In Spanish, “apostrophes” do not exist, so it is probable that MT is not able to recognize the words in Spanish, so it is impossible to translate them. We are talking for instance about words like “dimm´d”, “untrimm´d”, “wander’st”.

Word order. Long sentences tend to be translated in a wrong way. For example “And summer’s lease hath all too short a date” or “And every fair from fair sometime declines” which have been changed due to the leghtening of the sentences if we compare Spanish (long sentences) versus English (short sentences). In addition, we have to take in mind that the text translated is poetry so the work done by the translator is more difficult even.

Punctuation. This translator has not made many errors of punctuation. However, we can tell one which is meaningful. This is the case of the interrogative sign, which in English only appears one in opposition to Spanish which is used twice. For example, we have: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Which appears as “Voy a compararte con un día de verano?

Lack of natural language. Although the text translated is a literary text, the tone and the lexicon used is not appropriate, especially the word order.

The other text we have chosen is a journalistic text. We have decided to select this kind of text to compare the translation given by Google Translate according to the nature of texts. The text we have chosen is an article entitled:  from the magazine HELLO! written in English entitled: “Pippa Middleton unwinds with former friend in Madrid”. I have also provided the translated text and my own version:



Pippa Middleton unwinds with former flame in Madrid

16 MAY 2011

After her starring role in the wedding of the century, it was a well-deserved break.

While her newly-married sister jetted off the to the Seychelles for her honeymoon, Pippa Middleton flew to Madrid for some downtime with a group of friends that included former flame George Percy, the heir to the Duke of Northumberland.

Escaping the media frenzy surrounding her since the big day, the brunette beauty relaxed in the capital’s biggest park – the Retiro.

And she took to the water for a boat trip with the eligible aristocrat, whom she dated whilst at Edinburgh University.

But it was not all rest for party girl Pippa, who was keen to sample some of the Spanish city’s nightlife.
She partied in one of the most exclusive nightclubs, Fortuny, where she was spotted with a bottle of champagne in her bag.

And there was no let-up for the party planner the following evening, as she enjoyed an evening at swanky bar The Penthouse, dressed to the nines in a beige peplum skirt and fitted black blazer.

When the 26-year-old emerged the next day, she sported sunglasses as she made her way around the tourist sights with the group.

Pippa and George were flatmates in Edinburgh whilst they were in a relationship, and the pair have been friends for nearly ten years.

Her current boyfriend, broker Alex Loudon, stayed in Britain during her trip.


 Pippa Middleton se desenvuelve con la llama antigua en Madrid
16 MAY 2011
Después de su papel protagónico en la boda del siglo, fue un bien merecido descanso.

Mientras que su hermana recién casados ​​de hidromasaje de la de las Seychelles para su luna de miel, Pippa Middleton viajó a Madrid para un tiempo de inactividad con un grupo de amigos que incluyó al ex la llama George Percy, el heredero del duque de Northumberland.
Escapar de la histeria mediática que rodea a su puesto el gran día, la belleza morena relajado en el mayor parque de la capital – el Retiro.

Y se llevó al agua para un viaje en barco con el aristócrata elegibles, a quien de fecha, mientras que la Universidad de Edimburgo.
Pero no todo fue descanso para chica fiestera Pippa, que estaba dispuesto a probar algunos de la vida nocturna de la ciudad española.

Ella fiesta en una de las discotecas más exclusivas, Fortuny, donde fue visto con una botella de champán en su bolso.

Y no había tregua para el planificador del partido la noche siguiente, mientras disfrutaba de una tarde en el bar chic El Penthouse, vestido de punta en blanco con una falda peplum beige y blazer negro puesto.

Cuando el jugador de 26 años de edad, salió el día siguiente, ella lucía gafas de sol como hizo su camino alrededor de los lugares de interés turístico con el grupo.

Pippa y George fueron compañeros de piso en Edimburgo, mientras se encontraban en una relación, y los dos han sido amigos durante casi diez años.
Su actual novio, el corredor Alex Loudon, una estancia en Gran Bretaña durante su viaje.


 Pippa Middleton se relaja en Madrid con su nuevo novio en Madrid

Mientras que su hermana recién casada volaba rumbo a las Seychelles para disfrutar de su luna de miel, Pippa Middleton volaba hacia Madrid por unos días de descanso con un grupo de amigos entre los que se incluía su antiguo novio, el heredero del ducado de Northumberland.

Tratando de escapar de la hysteria de los medios de comunicación que la perseguian desde el gran día, la belleza morena se relajó en el parque más grande de la capital, El Retiro.

Y se metió en el agua durante un viaje en barca con el aristócrata casadero con el que estuvo saliendo mientras estaba en la Universidad de Edimburgo.

Sin embargo, no todo fue descanso para la fiestera Pippa, quién estaba deseosa de disfrutar de la fiesta nocturna de España.

Disfrutó de la fiesta en uno de los clubs más exclusivas, llamado “Fortuny”, donde se la pudo ver con una botella de champán en su bolso.

Y no hubo ninguna interrupción para la planificadora de la fiesta a la tarde siguiente, ya que se divirtió en el bar pijo “The Penthouse” vestida de punta en blanco con una falda plisada beige y una americana negra que le quedaba como a un guante.

Al día siguiente, cuando la chica de 26 de años apareció llevaba puestas unas gafas de sol para disfrutar de las vistas con el resto del grupo.

Pippa y George fueron compañeros de piso en Edimburgo mientras que fueron novios y la pareja ha seguido siendo amiga desde hace diez años.

Su actual novio, el bróker Alex Loudon, se quedó en Gran Bretaña durante el viaje.


Lack of agreement. In the text translated there is a problem with agreement, maybe due to the fact, that in English there are no visible marks which express agreement in gender and number except in the third person singular present. Even though, in third person singular the “s” does not indicate if we are talking about a woman or a man.  We find many exampleslike “While her newly-married sister jetted off the to the Seychelles” translated as “Mientras que su hermana recién casados” o “the brunette beauty relaxed in the capital’s biggest park” translated as “la belleza morena relajado en el mayor parque de la ciudad”

Confusion between categories. The translator does not recognize words which can be used in two categories. For instance, verbs and nouns. That is the case of the word “party” in “she partied in one of the most exclusive nightclubs” translated as “ella fiesta en uno de los clubs nocturnes más exclusivos”

False friends. The translator has not made a good translation of some words like the adjective “eligible”. In English, the sense of the adjective eligible is ”somebody wealthy”, “a good person to marry with” . However, “eligible” in Spanish means “somebody who can be chosen”.

Problems with the translations of compounds and adjectives. The translator does not make a good job when it has to translate compounds. For instance, “party planner” which means “somebody who loves parties” is translated as “el jugador”.

Punctuation. In Spanish, “dashes” are only used when we want to reproduce a direct speech or a dialogue written. In English, they use a  dash in the place of a “comma” so maybe the translator has not been able to reproduce it. For instance, “the capital’s biggest park”- the Retiro” translated as “el mayor parque de la capital- el Retiro”

Lack of certain words: The translator has not been able to translate some words like “peplum”. In addition, proper nouns like “The Penthouse” or “Fortuny” do not appear translated


Reverso is an online free translator which can be only used to translate short texts.In the same webpage there is a dictionary and a conjugation tool. This translator tool uses Reverso Intrenet which has been developed by PROjectMT and Softtisimo. The Reverso translator is a very useful tool for instance, to look for words when somebody receives an e-mail instead of using dictionaries or to eliminate the barriers of language when we are abroad

Reverso online translator offers several language to work with.Basically the most used are the following combinations:  English- Spanish, Espanish- English, French- Spanish, Spanish- French, Spanish- German, German- Spanish, Portuguese – Spanish, English- Japanese,  Rusian- Spanish etc .

How to translate a short text?

 In order to translate we have to follow three different steps. Firstly, we have to  paste the text on the translation box and then we choose the language in which we want to translate the text. Once we have made our choice, we press the button “TRANSLATE” and wait until a new window is open with the translation.



¿Compararé thee hasta el día de un verano?

Thou arte más encantador y más templado:              

Vientos ásperos realmente sacuden los brotes queridos de mayo,

Y el arriendo del verano hath todo una fecha demasiado corta:

Algún día demasiado caliente el ojo de brillos de cielo,

Y a menudo es su tez de oro dimm’d;

Y cada feria de la feria algún día disminuye,

Por casualidad o el curso de cambio de la naturaleza untrimm’d;

Pero el verano thy eterno no se descolorará

Ni pierda la posesión de aquella feria thou owest;

Tampoco la Muerte se jactará thou wander’st en su sombra,

Cuando en líneas eternas a tiempo thou growest:

Mientras que los hombres pueden respirar o los ojos pueden ver,

Tan vidas largas esto y esto dan la vida a thee.


 Personal Pronouns: Contrary to Google translate which has been able to translate pronouns from other century, Reverso has not translated personal pronouns. For instance, “thee” which means “you” in modern English, and “thou” in the following sentences: “Shall I compare thee with a summer’s day?” and “Thou art more lovely and more temperate” translated as ¿Compararé thee hasta un día de verano? And “Thou arte más encantador”.

Incorrect use of past subjunctive. This translator is not able to use the subjunctive in Spanish.In the poem there are several examples which show this problem, like for instance “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see” translated as “mientras que los hombres puedan respirar o los ojos puedan ver”.

Lack of agreement subject- verb. Reverso is not able to translate in a coherent way structures in which agreement is present. For instance, “So long lives this and this gives life to thee” translated as “tan vidas largas esto y esto dan la vida a thee”. “Esto” is a third person singular pronoun in Spanish so it should be followed by a verb in third person singular, not plural.

Problems with words which can be different categories.  Again we find problems with words which act as several categories like for instance “shine” which means “to glow”. In this case “the eye of heaven shines” is translated as “el ojo de brillos de cielo”. We have to assume that shines referring to the verb “to shine”


Pippa Middleton desenrolla con la antigua llama en Madrid 16 MAYO 2011

Después de su papel estrellado en la boda del siglo, esto era una rotura bien merecida.

Mientras su hermana recién casada jetted del a las Seychelles para su luna de miel, Pippa Middleton voló a Madrid durante algún tiempo de inactividad con un grupo de los amigos que incluyeron la antigua llama Jorge Percy, el heredero del Duque de Northumberland.

Evitando el frenesí de medios de comunicación que la rodea desde el día grande, la belleza de morena relajada en el parque más grande de la capital – el Retiro.

Y ella tomó al agua para un viaje del barco con el aristócrata eligible, quien ella dató mientras en Edinburgo la Universidad.

Pero esto no era todo el resto para la muchacha de partido(parte) Pippa, que era penetrante para probar un poco de la vida nocturna de la ciudad española.

Ella celebró una fiesta en uno de los clubs de noche más exclusivos, Fortuny, donde ella fue manchada(descubierta) con una botella de champán en su bolsa.

Y no había ninguna calma para el planificador de partido(parte) la tarde siguiente, como ella disfrutó de una tarde en la barra de lujo


 Literal translation. The translator has used literal translation in some of the words as “date” which means “go out with somebody when you are in a relationship”. In Spanish, “datar” is accepted but now commonly used so it sounds a bit awkward in natural speech.

Use of brackets. This translator uses brackets to explain the meaning of some words which are not very clear. For instance, “she was spotted” translated as “ella fue manchada (descubierta) or “and there was not let-up for the party planner” as “y no había ninguna calma para el planificador de partido (parte).

Context of translation. The translator is not able to select the appropriate meaning of a certain word. It is necessary that a human brain participates in the process of translation, In this text, the word “flame” is used but not with the meaning of “llama” but with the definition of “boyfriend” or “lover”.  In this text, the mistake is made in “Pippa Middleton unwinds with former flame in Madrid” as “Pippa Middleton se relaja en Madrid con su nuevo novio”

Confusing translations and change of meaning. This translator tends to change the meaning of sentences and the tone of the context of the text. For instance, in the sentence “after her starring role” where “starring” means something positive, “somebody who has been seen as an important figure” is translated as “estrellado” which means quite the opposite, that is to say, “somebody who is not lucky”.

Misinterpretations of common expressions. In all languages there are certain expressions which are constructed in a particular way depending on their origin. For example, in the this text, the expression “and she took to the water for a boat trip” which means that “somebody has sailed in a boat” has been translated as “y ella tomo el agua” which in Spanish means to “drink water”

Yahoo Bable Fish

This translator is an online language resource which allows to translate short texts (150 characters) and web pages. SYSTRAN is the technologycal system upon which Yahoo Babel Fish is built. The languages of translation are for instance: French, German, Italian, English, Japanese etc

We select the languages we want to work with and then we paste the text in the box. Then we press the button “translate”.


Pippa Middleton desenrolla con la llama anterior en Madrid 16 de mayo de 2011 Después de su papel starring en la boda del siglo, era una rotura merecida. Mientras que su hermana nuevo-casada echó en chorro de a las Seychelles para su luna de miel, Pippa Middleton voló a Madrid para un cierto tiempo muerto con un grupo de amigos que incluyeron la llama anterior George Percy, el heredero al duque de Northumberland. Escapando el frenesí de los medios que la rodeaba desde el día grande, la belleza triguena se relajó en el capital’ el parque más grande de s – el Retiro. Y ella llevó el agua para un viaje del barco con el aristócrata elegible, que ella fechó mientras que en la universidad de Edimburgo. Pero no era todo el resto para la muchacha de partido Pippa, que era afilada muestrear algo del city’ español; vida nocturna de s. Ella partied en uno de los clubs nocturnos más exclusivos, Fortuny, donde la mancharon con una botella de champán en su bolso. Y no había descanso para el planificador del partido la tarde siguiente, pues ella disfrutó de una tarde en la barra ostentosa el ático, vestido a los nines en una falda amarillenta del peplum y una chaqueta negra cabida. Cuando emergieron los 26 años el next day, ella se divirtió las gafas de sol mientras que ella hizo su manera alrededor de las vistas turísticas con el grupo. Pippa y George eran flatmates en Edimburgo mientras que estaban en una relación, y los pares han sido amigos por casi diez años. Su novio actual, corredor Alex Loudon, permanecía en Gran Bretaña durante su viaje.


Lack of division into paragraphs. The translator makes its job as a block. The original text was divided into lines or small paragraphs but the translated versions is translated together.

Problems with the Saxon genitive. This translator is unable to translate the saxon genitive which is typical of English language in to Spanish. As a consequence, the text has not translated the following expression right: “some of the Spanish city’s nightlife”. The result has been “el capital parque más grande de s- el Retiro”.

Inappropriate translation of verbs. This translator has not done a good job because it has translated “she was spotted with a bottle of champagne in her bag”  which mean that “she was observed or seen while she had a bottle in her bag as “ donde la mancharon con una botella de champán” which means “to get dirty”

False friends. The same as Google Translate and Reverso translator has not made a good translation of some words like the adjective “eligible”. In English, the sense of the adjective eligible is ”somebody wealthy”, “a good person to marry with” . However, “eligible” in Spanish means “somebody who can be chosen”.

Lack of translations of certain words. The translator does not work with certain words as “the next day” which should be translated as “el próximo día” o “flatmates” as “compañeros de piso”.


SONETO 18 Compararé thee a un summer’ ¿día de s? Arte de mil más encantador y más templado: Los vientos ásperos sacuden los brotes queridos de mayo, Y summer’ hath del arriendo de s toda la fecha demasiado corta: Alguna vez demasiado caliente el ojo del cielo brilla, Y está a menudo su tez dimm’ del oro; d; Y cada feria de la feria de declinaciones alguna vez, Por casualidad o nature’ curso cambiante untrimm’ de s; d; Pero thy verano eterno no se descolorará Ni pierda la posesión de ese mil justo más owest; Ni mil wander’ del brag de la muerte; st en su cortina, cuando en las líneas eternas para medir el tiempo de mil más growest: Siempre y cuando los hombres pueden respirar o los ojos pueden ver, Tan las largas vidas esto y éste da vida al thee.


Problems with the Saxon genitive. Again as in the previous example “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” as “Compararé thee a un summer ¿Día de s?.

Personal Pronouns: Contrary to Google translate which has been able to translate pronouns from other century, Reverso has not translated personal pronouns. For instance, “thee” which means “you” in modern English, “thou” and “thy”

Confusion of word categories. This translator has a problem with the translation of archaic forms like the verb “art” which in the 16th century was used as the 2nd person singular/plural in “Thou art more lovely and more temperate” because it has been translated as the noun “arte” in “Arte de mil encantador”

I have done an slideshare presentation with images which explains better my analysis:


Although, I am not an expert in the field of translations I think the three translators I have mentioned before offer great advantages and disadvantages. Undoubtedly, each of the translators is an automatic linguistic tool so we assume that they will probably be imperfect. As we have seen in the examples of the review, all of them show a lot of mistakes which can only be improved by the human brain. The object of our analysis, that is Google Translate, makes a lot of mistakes because it does not apply grammatical rules and change words which seem to be equivalent but they have a different meaning. However, if I had to choose one of the translators we have talked about, I think Google translator is the best. Basically, because the translation which offers can be understood as the mistakes made do not prevent from catch the general meaning. We have analysed both texts and the majority of problematic errors appeared in Yahoo Babel Fish and Reverso. These kinds of errors have made almost impossible for a person who does not have a sound knowledge of English to understand the version which came from the original text. This review shows why I have to this conclusion, with all the examples I have used


Google Translate

On the following lines, it will be analyzed one of the most succesful translators of this century-Google Translate. This translator is a free on-line statistical machine service owned by Google Inc that translates immediately a lot of different languages (57) such as Polish, German, Dutch, Spanish… However, it has to be said that some languages are better translated than others, in other words, some languages are supported by Google translate and others languages are called by the company “alpha languages”, this is to say that these languages have lower quality in their translations.

It is possible to translate long texts, but the system limits the number of paragraphs. Nevertheless, if the user wants to translate completely a website, Google Translate gives him or her the opportunity to use Google chrome which is a fast free browser that translates websites automatically in many languages. Not only does Google translate give you the opportunity to use Google chrome, but also other tools such as to the Google translated search (the information that you are searching probably will not be in your own language; the system searches the best contribution and translates it to your own language) or the iphone version which allows voice input.

The aim of this enterprise is “to make information universally accessible, regardless of the language in which it is written” That is why it has been improving since it started. Nowadays, it can be done many things that could not be done at the beginning. For example, in the first version, only English could be translated to some other languages, now it can be done the other way round. Moreover, it is also possible to have the romanization written for languages such as Chinese or Greek and, in the last version launched in January 2011, it is also possible to see different possible translations for a specific word. A good way that helps this translator to improve is that the user himself can increase the quality of translations by suggesting improvements or uploading his translations memories into Google Translate’s Translator Toolkit. Furthermore, the service itself asks the user sometimes alternate translations for technical terms.

But, how does this translator work? As it has been said, Google Translate is a Statistical Machine Translator (SMT) which is a way of translating texts completely different from the traditional rule-based translations. The rule-based machine translations were used some years ago and they applied the rules and grammars of the language that was being translated. However, Linguists knew that not all languages had the same rules (e.g the order of some languages is subject- verb-object but in others is verb- subject-object) that is why the translations were not very good.

Then, it began statistical machine translations where the computer looks for patterns in millions of documents. This documents had already been translated by human beings and thanks to them the computer can know more or less how the translation should be. However, the translations are not always perfect and the quality of them depends mainly on the number of documents that the computer can analyze to see patterns. That is why Google Translate can translate better, for example, German than Basque, it has more German documents than Basque Documents. Franz Josef Och is the main head in Google and he is in favour of Statistical machine translators. The documents that are available for the machine are taken from United Nations documents.

Finally, this way to translate texts has advantages. For instance, the quality is better than in rule-based translations, also, the translations are more natural and we have better use of resources. But, there are some disadvantages and problems with: sentence alignment, different word orders, compound words, idioms, morphology

Do not hesitate to see the following video that explains how SMT works . If you are interested in knowing more about the problems Google Translate has, you can see the portfolio I did commenting the main problems here: http://wiki.littera.deusto.es/en/index.php/User:1adcaden/trans0910/Portfolio