Ted.com videos for IAL phrasebooks

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Quick post today for IAL advocates, especially newer ones such as Sambahsa, Lingwa de Planeta and Lingua Franca Nova that still lack phrasebooks in a large number of languages. Thanks to user-made translations of videos at Ted.com it's easily possible to translate a single video there in order to end up with equivalent phrases in twenty or more languages. Right now the only IAL on Ted.com is Esperanto, but you don't need to have your language officially approved in order to take advantage of this. Since there are a few Esperanto translations though we'll use it as an example. We'll go with this talk by James Cameron.

The first paragraph is as follows:

Mi pasigis la junaĝon kun dietado de sciencfikcio. Al la mezlernejo mi busis unuhore tien, unuhore reen, ĉiutage. Mi estis ĉiam absorbita en libro, sciencfikcia libro, kiu portis mian menson al aliaj mondoj, kaj rakontoforme kontentigis mian nesatigeblan senton de scivolo.
Great, now we have a few sentences in Esperanto. Now let's find equivalents in a few other languages. There are about 30 translations for this video so translating any paragraph of it will also give you the equivalent in each other language.

First of course is English:
I grew up on a steady diet of science fiction. In high school I took a bus to school an hour each way every day. And I was always absorbed in a book, science fiction book, which took my mind to other worlds, and satisfied, in a narrative form, this insatiable sense of curiosity that I had.
then French:
J'ai grandi en me nourrissant de science-fiction. Au lycée, je prenais le bus pour aller à l'école, chaque jour, une heure de trajet dans chaque sens. Et j'étais toujours plongé dans un bouquin, un bouquin de science-fiction, qui emmenait mon esprit vers d'autres mondes, et satisfaisait, dans sa forme narrative, mon insatiable curiosité d'alors.
now off to Finnish:
Kasvoin tieteiskirjallisuuden parissa. Yläkoulun aikana matkustin bussilla kouluun tunnin joka päivä. Olin aina kirjan imussa, tieteiskirjan, joka vei mieleni toisiin maailmoihin, ja tyydytti, kerronnallaan, kyltymättömän uteliaisuuteni.
and let's make Romanian the final example.
Am crescut cu o dietă constantă de Science Fiction. La liceu mergeam cu autobuzul la școală câte o oră dus și una întors în fiecare zi. Și eram întotdeauna absorbit de o carte, o carte științifico-fantastică, ce îmi purta mintea către alte lumi și îmi satisfăcea, într-o formă narativă, simțul acesta insațiabil de curiozitate pe care îl aveam.
So that's all there is to it. The good thing about this method is that you don't have to translate an entire talk, just the sentences you feel particularly applicable to a phrasebook. The only challenge in this would be identifying the corresponding sentence in another language, so it helps to at least know how to read them. In a pinch you could also make use of Google Translate.

The only disadvantage to this is that the translation will not always be a literal one: the first sentence in English ("I grew up on a steady diet...") in Esperanto technically says ("I spent the youth with...").

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