Internet Translation Engines

Figure 1.--This French boy wears a knee pants sailot suit with a large tam in a postcard probably made about 1910.

Free electronic translation engines are available on line. All you have to is type in the web page address (URL) or cut and paste the section of text of interest. These translations engines handle most major European languages and some even hadle Japanese and Chinese. They are very easy to handle. Almost instantaneously a useable (if somewhat unreliable) translation will come up. These electronic translations requires a great deal of editing to create a polished translation, but it will at least enable you to figure out the basic text of the page. There are difference between the different engines used and the language esired, but this is a useful tool as so much of HBC is done in English. For years we used Altavista, but this facility was disabled in 2012. We then switched to Google which has an excellent translatiion facility.

On-line Translation Facilities

There are several different free on-line translation facilitioes.


Google has an excellent on-line tranlation facility and a long lost of different languages are available for translation. The results hve to be polished by readers, but the results provide an excellent first cut when the reader does not understand the language.


French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish speakers can easily translate a page of special interest. Just go to the Altavista translation page and enter the URL (Web address) of the HBC page that you would like to translate. HBC has used the Altavista translation engine. Although the quality of the engine is still disappoing, it did help understand some interesting foreign language pages which would have been otherwise inecipherable. HBC has noted, however, that in recent months large numbers of strange characters come up in the tranlations. HBC does not know the cause of this. Infortunately thos facility has been discontinued.

Free Tranlation

HBC has recently found a new tranlation service--Free Translation. We have just begun to try it out and am not yet sure how effective it is. Let me know what you think.


Web View

Reader Asessments

Here are the results that HBC reader have reported to HBC.


A French reader report that Altavista gave the best result in French. The text getting is rather good, understandable, but not enough correct to be written on a page. A writier reports, "The best from English into French, German, and Spanish is Altavista. All the sentences are respected, except with some syntax error. The translation of the word is good." A reader working in Spanish reports, "Good translation. No grammar errors, only a few sentences have strangely placed words."


A French reader tells us that he found Free Tranlation to be unsatisfactory. "Very bad result, the resuting text in French is incomprehensible." Another reader reported trans alting into German reported, "Very poor resuly. Very offten the translation is incomprehensible. There were many syntax errors. A reader reports that working in Spanish, "The results were disappointing. The words and the articulation of the sentences is not good, although the text can be understanding quite easily."


A reader reports, "The translation is not very good, often incomprehensible not giving the sense of the original sentence."


A French reader tells us that this sit yields an understandable result, but "the result is in very bad French".


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Created: February 4, 2001
Last updated: 5:24 AM 1/28/2013