If you have read my previous blog, Women of Tomorrow, You know that I have found a book online written by my grandfather. The only problem: it is in Hungarian.
I am now in the throes of trying to translate it.
I am becoming better at it. I am using Bing Translate and Google Translate; when the results of one give nonsense, I try the other.
I have also discovered that part of my difficulties are the result of the vagaries of copying from a pdf and pasting into the translate program. Sometimes, for reasons I do not understand, this process will split a word in the middle. Currently I look at each line and correct the line when necessary. Once I understand what is going on, I may be able to write some code to solve this problem.
I am also learning Hungarian! I now know that és is “and.” If I have trouble with a sentence and there is a és in it, I will split the sentence before and after the és. Sometimes this yields something comprehensible. It seems strange that compounding a sentence would cause so much trouble. Maybe some of you linguists out there can explain the problem to me.
I’ve also learned that the third person singular does not differentiate between genders. So ő means he, or she, or it. This can make a sentence which refers to a man and a woman difficult to understand. How do the Hungarians do it?
Even worse, consider a sentence referring to a man, a woman, and a horse!
All this work has paid off. I found the following sentence in my grandfather book:
“The marriage of the ignorant daughter for petty reasons is not qualitatively different from prostitution.”
Way to go, Grandpa!