REVIEW: Google Translate

GOOGLE TRANSLATOR

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.

METHODOLOGY

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.

USING THE TRANSLATOR

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.

TRANSLATING DIFFERENT TYPES OF TEXTS

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.

LITERARY TEXT

ORIGINAL TEXT

SONNET 18

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.

TRANSLATED VERSION

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.

FAILURES AND PROBLEMS WITH THE TRANSLATOR

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:

PERIODISTIC TEXT

ORIGINAL TEXT

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.

TRANSLATED VERSION

 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.

MY OWN VERSION

 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.

FAILURES AND PROBLEMS WITH THE TRANSLATOR

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

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.

TRANSLATED VERSION

SONETO 18

¿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.

FAILURES AND PROBLEMS WITH THE TRANSLATOR

 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”

 TRANSLATED VERSION

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

FAILURES AND PROBLEMS WITH THE TRANSLATOR

 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”.

TRANSLATED VERSION

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.

FAILURES AND PROBLEMS WITH THE TRANSLATOR

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”.

TRANSLATED VERSION

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.

FAILURES AND PROBLEMS WITH THE TRANSLATOR

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:

IN CONCLUSION

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

SOURCES

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Review: BRITISH NATIONAL CORPUS

 

 

 The British National Corpus (BNC) is one of the most important corpuses in the field of linguistics. The content of BCN contains British English data from the late twentieth century. This corpus covers a variety of different genres.

Creation of the British National Corpus (BCN)

The project was developed by an academic consortium called the BCN Consortium. The Bristish Library and the British Academy. In addition, some other academic research centres are the the University Centre for Computer Corpus Research on Language and the Oxford University Computing Services.

The construction of the corpus began in 1991 and it was finished in 1994. Although no more texts were added to the corpus, there was a revision of this work carried out in 2001 with the publication of the BNC World and again in 2007 with a new edition called BNC XML Edition . The corpus is divided into two types of different type of corpora which are:

● The BCN Sampler is a collection of one million written words.
● The BNC Baby collects about four one-million word samples which belong to different genres

The British National Corpus follows the Guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) . There are two different parts which constitute the corpus:

● Written part: (90%). It covers data from several sources like books, periodicals, brochures and leaflets. In addition the written part covers regional and national newspapers, journals for all ages and interests, academic books, popular fiction, university essays etc
● Spoken part (10%): That part extracts information from orthographic transcriptions of informal conversations and spoken language collected in different contexts. The first part is made up of a 50% of transcriptions of natural conversations. The transcriptions come from conversation in which 124 people have taken part; all of them belonged to the United Kingdom. The participants in the conversations were represented in a 50% by women and the other 50% by men. The second part is made up of a 50% of some recordings which were extracted from a specific moment in a event from different nature: business events, leisure events, educational events etc…

Why to use British National Corpus?

The BNC can be used to know about aspects we did not know about a word and to check our thoughts about its meaning. Moreover, the corpus can help to find out the meaning of a word not just what we think it means. The BNC offers many options like for instance to know if a word can collocate with other set of words, if it is grammatically right in some specific contexts.

If we look for the word the word “bent” plus the preposition “on” the BNC indicates that this combination of words appear together in a specific context. From a grammatical point of view, the British National Corpus determines that “Bent to” can only be followed by a noun or noun phrase, or by verb plus the suffix- ing.

How to use the British National Corpora

There exists two ways of using the British National Corpus according to its complexity:
● Xaira: It can be used to check the spelling of a word, compare different variants to measure the frequency of use and if a certain word is part of the BCN.
● The BNC Simple Search: It is a quick way of searching a word / phrase. This type of search can be used to check the spelling of a word and also to compare the frequency and variants of a word.

If we use the BNC Simple search, it is necessary to type the word or phrase in the search box that the person wants to find. Once the word/ phrase has been search a list of up to 50 selected instances headed by a note of the total frequency of use of them appears on the screen. If we want to look for more complex queries we should add the following characters to the words. The _ character is used to match single words, while the = character allows the restriction of chains of speech and the use of braces {} helps to define a certain expressions.

In addition, in the screen, four options are part of the option “display” of the corpus when we are looking for a word: LIST, CHART, KWIC and COMPARE. Then there are three more options under the label of search string which are: word, collocation and pos list. In addition, there is a section called “sorting and limits”. The sorting can be looked in terms frequency, relevance and alphabetical order.

The corpus includes several categories or labels of texts from different nature which are “spoken”, “fiction”, “magazine”, “newspaper” or “non- academic texts”. For instance, if we look for the word “couch”, the corpus shows us that this word collocates with different words: lying, lay, room, potato etc. After having clicking on one of this word several examples will appear on the screen. The corpus allows looking for a word or phrase but at the same time the possibility of finding collocations. To look for a collocation is as easier as to type the word which wants to be searched and automatically an asterisk will appear on the box of collocation. Once the search has been produced the corpus displays a list of words which collocates with the word.

The KWIC search enriches the corpus because it helps the person which is looking for the word to know in which grammatical structures and contexts the word appears. For example, if we look for the word: “shoes” the corpus shows in colours the different words which can be used with this word. “A new pair of”, “the soles of our”, “the second hand”, “new polished”, or “thousands of” etc.

Comparison between the British National Corpora and the COCA

In terms of size there is a huge difference between both corpuses as the COCA is four times bigger than the BNC. The COCA is made up of 410 + million words in opposition to the BNC which covers 100 million words. In relation to the composition of both corpuses the COCA focuses on spoken, popular magazines, academic texts and each of those genres means a 20% of the total. However, the BNC is strictly divided in a 90% which is written while the other 10% is spoken English. As a result the COCA deals with more recent information as the corpus was updated while BNC focuses more on everyday language.

I have included a SlideShare presentation which explains in more detail and with images the British National Corpus. You can have access to it if you click in the link below:

INFORMATION SOURCES

Review: MERRIAM WEBSTER’S COLLEGIATE DICTIONARY ONLINE

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary online is a language resource available in the webpage: http://www.merriam-webster.com/. This version online is based on the latest edition of Merriam- Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.The producer company of the dictionaries, Merriam Webster Inc is a subsidiary company of the Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

This dictionary is a very complete language resource. Every lexical item includes the first time the word was used, the historial and etymological origins, orthographical notes, function of the the words and regional varieties.

Merriam Webster’s has 225,000 entries, 115,000 audio pronunciations, 340,000 synonyms and related words and 1,300 illustrations.

What can we find in the dictionary?

There are four different types of dictionaries: the monolingual dictionary, a Thesaurus dictionary, a bilingual dictionary Spanish- English and a Medical Dictionary.

It includes 4 additional sections: word games, word of the day, new words and slang and videos.

a) DICTIONARY: Using the dictionary

In order to look for a word, we have to type the word, we are looking for in the search box. Let’s use the word “light”. The dictionary presents several entries according to different categories such as “noun”, “verb”, “adjectives”, “adverb” etc. In this example there are 219 entries.

The dictionary includes a pronunciation device where the word (in this case “light”) is written in phonetical and phonological symbols and if you click on the audio device, the word can be listened to get a better pronunciation.

Then the dictionary collects different definitions of the word “light”. What is more, it adds words which are synonyms or which are part of the semantic field of “light”. The dictionary also includes different contexts and examples in which, for instance, the word “light” can appear and compounds. It also includes a set of idiomatic expressions and collocations which also define the words.Lastly, there is a list of examples of the words, the origin of the word and its historical review, different synonyms and antonyms and even “rhymes” with a certain word.

b) THESAURUS

The Merriam Webster’s dictionary offers a Thesaurus dictionary, that is to say, a list of words which have share a similarity in their meanings.To look for a word is as simple as typing the word we want to look for in the search box. Take for example, the word: “plant”.After the word (plant), the dictionary shows the different entries it has found. In this example: “plant” as a noun, and “plant”as a verb.

Once we have looked for the word (plant), the first option that appears is the word “plant”with the category of noun. The dictionary offers a definition of the word “a building or a set of buildings for the manufaturing of goods”. Then there are several synonyms and finally related words. A second category is the word “plant” as a verb.

c) SPANISH- ENGLISH DICTIONARY

Again, we have to type the word we are looking for in the search box. In this case, we will choose the word “table”. Then we will press “ENTER” to start the search. Once, the search has finished, the word “table” presents four entries.

The dictionary shows the translation of the word “table”, that is to say “mesa” in Spanish. Then the word is used in a particular context and several examples are used to do it, like “multiplication table”(tabla de multiplicar) or “table of contents”(tabla de materias).

d)MEDICAL

Merriam Webster’s dictionary is a linguistic resource also for medical purposes. It contains thousands of words related to the world of medicine.The way of looking for a word is the same than with the other three dictionaries. We have to type the word in the search box and press “enter”. Let’s look for the word “surgery”.

FOUR OPTIONS MERRIAM WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY

a) WORD GAMES

The Merriam Webster dictionary contributes to the enrichment of the learner’s vocabulary by offering different word games. All of them are thought to be an alternative and dynamic tool which can be used as an entertainment but also as a learning instrument. Basically, the main aims of these games are the improvement of spelling and pronunciation like in the case of the game Bee cubed. Moreover, the word order is one of the main objectives in these games , like L.A. Times Daily Crossword.

b) WORD OF THE DAY

Everyday a new word is added to the dictionary. It helps to the introduction of new lexical items to the English language. The dictionary shows the pronunciation of the word (using the phonetic and phonological symbols). For instance, on the 23, February 2011 the word of the day was “edacious”.
Firstly, these “words of the day” are categorised as “nouns, adjectives, “adverbs” etc… Then, they are defined in a similar way that the “Thesaurus dictionary” uses. Similar meanings and synonyms are selected to define the word.

Secondly, these new words are exemplified with several sentences and it is common the use of a quotation from a literary source to explain whether or not the word can be used in different backgrounds. In addition, this section adds a section called : Did you know? which presents the historical origin of the new word and generally the etymology. Moreover, it describes the distinct meanings which have been atributed to the word through different ages in history.To finish the section, the dictionary offers a family quiz which deals with the word described everyday.

c) NEW WORDS AND SLANG

This section is a group of new words which have been included in the dictionary thanks to the collaboration of the users. The dictionary allows the introduction of new words which are part of “everyday’s life” and also the “most colloquial English”.

d) VIDEOS

This is an alternative and modern tool in which several editors explain the meaning or origin of a word.

IN CONCLUSION

Merriam Webster’s dictionary offers a wide variety of options according to several needs. It is one of the most complete dictionaries because it includes: definitions, synonyms and antonyms, origin and etymology of the words, spelling and pronunciation devices, phonological and phonetic transcriptions and content of use of the words.In the online version, there are four different dictionaries which help several specific needs.

I have done an Slideshare presentation which makes a more deep review about the dictionary. If you click in the link below you could see it:

Information sources