Genealogical Tip: Translating Results from International Pages (For Free!)

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“What does that say?” When looking up information on ancestors in countries where thecribers are at a loss. This may be true when using the new International Genealogy Community Pages now available at WorldVitalRecords.com.

A quick solution, depending upon the language one wants, is to use http://www.babelfish.altavista.com. This site can take blocks of text and translate them for free. It may not always be precisely accurate, but most of the time the translator should provide a general idea pertaining to what the content means.

An example from search results for “concepcion” on the Chilean international page:

“Somos una Congregacion de origen chileno, nacidas hace 111 anos en la region de la Araucanaa, Angol. Nuestro nombre es Hermanas Terceras Franciscanas Misioneras de la Inmaculada Concepcion. Fuimos fundadas por la Madre Maria del Carmen Fuenzalida Iturriaga, junto a cuatro co-fundadoras. Ellas provenian de Santiago, donde habian vivido como hermanas de la Orden Tercer Seglar de San Francisco por mas de 10 anos en un Beaterio, ubicado en la Recoleta”1

This text block translates to:

“We have been a Congregation of Chilean origin, been born for 111 years in the region of the Araucania, Angol. Our name is Sisters Third Franciscanas Misioneras of the Immaculate Conception. We were founded by the Mother Maria of the Carmen Fuenzalida Iturriaga, next to four Co-founders. They came from Santiago, where they had lived like sisters of the Order Third Seglar of San Francisco by more than 10 years in a Beguine convent, located in the Recoleta.”

Although it is not a perfect translation, it is far better than none, and when translating blocks of text at a time, key concepts are kept in focus. Our recommendation is to translate only a paragraph at a time. Paragraphs are normally self-contained and can express one idea in one block, versus trying to translate an entire page at a time, although that can be done. Whatever amount is translated comes out as a large block after translation, so keeping to a paragraph at a time may aid reading later.

Languages that Babelfish translates from/to are: English to Chinese-trad, Chinese-simp; Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish; Dutch to English and French; Chinese-modern and simplified to English, French to Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish; German to English and French; Greek to English and French; Italian to English and French; Spanish to English and French; Korean and Japanese to English; Russia to English; and Portuguese to English and French.

The Babelfish translation tool is very helpful when trying to decipher records found online in a variety of countries, where the membership base of WorldVitalRecords.com consistently grows on a regular basis.

Footnotes:

1 http://www.arzobispadodeconcepcion.cl/congregaciones/congregacion7.htm

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