Site-seers;Reviews;Web Sites

27th February 1998 at 00:00
Alta Vista Translation Service.

It might sound a little like science fiction, but can you imagine typing a letter or essay and then pushing a button to translate it into French, German, Spanish, Portuguese or Italian? This is what this little site offers - a free, instant translationservice. You write what you want in English and in a couple of seconds it translates it into another language.

This site can also perform an even more impressive party trick. If you type in an Internet address, the site will open the Internet site, but with all the contents trans-lated into the language that you've chosen. Which means that, if you wanted, you could put in The TES's web address and then call up the newspaper in French.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of the translations. When I tried translating text from French to English, the system struggled withany-thing idiomatic. But as a starting point for the hesi-tant adult linguist, wanting to put together a simple letter (or even to translate individual words), it could prove to be a useful secret ally.

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