MSX Book + Magazine Translations ?

By Hit-Biter

Master (160)

Hit-Biter's picture

25-07-2022, 02:37

Hey guys, I know this is unlikely but im wondering if any bi lingual MSXers out there would be interested in translating Dutch,German,Spanish,French MSX Books or Magazines to English ? I just think there's a wealth of material out there that's not accessible to most of the world as most people only speak there Native language and maybe English. Seems like a bit of a waste. However I have no idea if the process could be automated in some way by OCR Scanning and Translation software. Mist be something like Google Translate but better ?

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By Grauw

Ascended (10621)

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25-07-2022, 02:56

I often use the mobile Google Translate app’s camera function to translate Japanese text by pointing my phone at a PDF on my laptop screen. Works quite well.

By b_squared

Supporter (1)

b_squared's picture

25-07-2022, 16:03

I agree this is very worthwhile. However, the more important step would be to have accurate transcriptions of the texts in their native language. Google Translate can usually do a good job with those. Right off the bat, I can think of HansO's transcriptions of Dutch material spread all over his old pages and Wilson Pilon's transcriptions of many old Brazilian magazines and books in Portuguese.

By Manuel

Ascended (18953)

Manuel's picture

25-07-2022, 21:49

Probably Google Translate can do a decent job for Dutch. If you have doubts, just ask here, plenty of Dutch speaking people who can help out.

By Gonzo XIII

Supporter (3)

Gonzo XIII's picture

08-08-2022, 12:27

Very good topic. Reason being I recently purchase a Philips NMS-8245 and ALL the books and magazines that came with it (MSX2-BASIC + MSX-DOS, Ease & Ease Applications, Designer Plus, MSX Zakboekje, MSX_DOS Computer Magazine issues 34 & 35) are all in Dutch. Yet when I try to find English translations of any of them, I can find French, Italian and Spanish...But no English! How is that possible?

So, not sure what can be done but I'm willing to help, as I think these are resources that could help a lot of people.

By thegeps

Paragon (1072)

thegeps's picture

24-08-2022, 01:04

Hi Gonzo, can you provide the links of Italian ones? Thanks

By CX5Mer

Champion (327)

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24-08-2022, 13:47

Hit-Biter I think I should tell you a bit about language learning. My native language is English. When I was still at school, I got a book called something like "Bon Voyage: A Phrasebook and Dictionary of NN European Languages" (where NN is a two digit number I can't remember). Unfortunately, I lost this book when I moved out of my first flat and can't find a copy or even get a reprint from anywhere. I don't know the name of the publisher, or the author(s). Luckily, the knowledge from this book has had an amazing effect on me for the rest of my life! A summary from it is as follows.

The phrases for different languages in this book are arranged in groups, such as Germanic, Romance, and Slavic. If you turn to any of these sections, then you can see that the languages in each group are very similar to each other, or even just dialects. There's another section of unrelated languages. Unfortunately, this book put some other languages in a group called "Baltic". These languages just happen to be spoken around the Baltic Sea, but mostly aren't Baltic. Only the languages Latvian and Lithuanian are actually Baltic. They put Finnish and Estonian in the Baltic group. These languages are non Indo European, so it's best for beginners to avoid them. The Germanic group in the book was German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian. English is also Germanic, but has incorporated lots of vocabulary from French and Latin. The Romance group in the book was French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian. These languages are all descended from Latin, thanks to the Roman Empire. Romania was cut off from the other areas speaking these languages by invasions of Slavic speaking tribes, but the language managed to survive there. I think the Slavic group in this book contained Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Czech, Serbo-Croat, and Bulgarian. Other Slavic languages which they may not have had space for in this book. are Slovak, and Byelorussian. Since the break up of Yugoslavia, the term "Serbo-Croat" isn't used much any more. It was a standard sub set of vocabulary from all the Slavic languages spoken in different regions, which later became independent countries. The people living where Yugoslavia used to be still speak the same languages, but they're now called Croat, Slovenian, Serbian, Bosnian, and Macedonian. They were called this before, but usually Serbo-Croat was the written language. Some language learning books which were originally called "Serbo-Croat" have even had their titles changed, then been republished as one of these other languages without any other changes being made except the name of the language!

As for English speakers starting to learn other languages, the closest language to English is Frisian, but this has only about 500,000 speakers, almost all in the province of Friesland, NE Netherlands, capital Leeuwaarden/Ljouwert, but with a few speakers in the German states of Schleswig.Holstein, and Niedersachsen, although these are different Frisian languages. AFAIK no MSX magazines or books have ever been published in Frisian, but I might get an irate reply from someone in Friesland telling me about their club newsletter or local magazine which was only available in Friesland. However, the second closest language to English is Dutch, which obviously has lots of MSX magazines and books published in it.

As for how to learn Dutch, I thoroughly recommend Teach Yourself Books - Dutch (by Koolhoven), because that's the book I started to learn Dutch from, but I can't find a copy at the moment. They've published some new books about learning Dutch. A newer language learning method is the Michel Thomas Method audio courses. Michel Thomas (RIP) was multilingual and managed to deconstruct languages, creating his own method, which doesn't involve writing anything down or struggling to memorise it. You can watch a video showing how amazing his method is on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0w_uYPAQic

As for learning Japanese, I failed to learn much Japanese from a very small book called "Easy Japanese", published in the USA, or from any other books, so eventually I got a Michel Thomas Method CD course in Japanese. Unfortunately, this doesn't help with actually reading anything in Japanese, because his method doesn't include writing anything down. Apart from this, Japanese uses three different writing systems. These are the phonetic alphabets Hiragana and Katakana (each with the same 48 characters in different fonts), as well as the Chinese style Kunji characters. I heard that the Kunji characters are somehow essential for writing Japanese because lots of words for different things sound the same, so are "ambiguous". I find it hard to believe that there isn't some way of telling what the meaning is from the context of the sentence. What I do know is that as there are about 40,000 of these Kunji characters, I don't think I could ever learn them all! Not only that, but the set of about 40,000 Kunji characters isn't the same set of about 40,000 Kunji characters used in Chinese!

By manolito74

Paragon (1266)

manolito74's picture

24-08-2022, 14:19

Hello @Hit-Biter,

the idea, te proposal, is good... but not easy to "carry out"/"implement".

Books often have a lot of pages, so you'll have tons of words to translate.

The main problem is to obtain a text file. The OCR sometimes works more or less fine but others is better that you type directly the text that correct the thousands of errors that appears after doing an OCR.

Perhaps your idea has sense for a very "important" book, a book that have interest for a huge amount of people...

On the other hand, doing a translation is not an easy even if you have the original text in a editable text file. Google Translate sometimes do good translations but most of the times the translations have a lot of mistakes... Even for a bilingual person is really difficult the task to translate a text, a book in order that it has sense in the language you are going to translate...

A good translation isn't always the most "literal" translation... You need to have a good knowledge of the language you are going to do the translation.

Are you specially interested in any book or magazine? Have you started to translate any book or magazine? Because start "from zero" could be too much work...

It has mor sense to translate a Game that to translate a book, because the effort is something reasonable, and easier.

Best regards. ;-)

By CX5Mer

Champion (327)

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24-08-2022, 14:53

@Hit-Biter I managed to find a copy of that book Teach Yourself Books - Dutch by H Koolhoven online. I don't think I'm allowed to tell you on here where I found it, but if you search for Teach Yourself Books Dutch Koolhoven, then I think you'll find a free PDF. I was very surprised to read that this book was originally published in 1941! However, it was updated after that, especially as it mentions a Dutch spelling reform, which was achieved by a law passed in 1947. I don't know how the spellings changed in 1947, but one of them might have been "Nederlandsche" to "Nederlandse", which was still used on Dutch banknotes even in the 1990s. Other updates to some words and phrases could have been made in later editions. One of the phrases you'll learn early on in this book is "Ik zal de brief lezen" (I'll read the letter). After you finish reading this book and me or someone else tells you a few additional words about computers, because they're not covered in this old book, then you'll be saying "Ik zal dit MSX tijdschrift lezen", then you'll actually be able to go and do that! After that, you might be using your MSX "toetsenbord" and perhaps even some "diskettes".