Lernout and Hauspie – Power Translator Pro 6.43 review

capable language translator
Photo of Lernout and Hauspie – Power Translator Pro 6.43
£151

This latest version of Power Translator Pro represents a significant leap forward in language translation software. This advance has been made possible by using new techniques which improve greatly upon the old method of performing a literal word-by-word translation. This software looks at the source text sentence-by-sentence in order to better determine the context of the words to be translated.

The package comes with five language capabilities – French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. However, the system only allows you to translate between English and the above languages. You cannot, for example, translate French text into Italian directly – the only way to do this would be to convert the French into English and then into Italian.

There are several translation tools available – the main system is geared towards working on large documents and allows you to do things like change single sentences without having to process the entire text from scratch. This is important because even with a reasonably fast PC, large chunks of text can take a while to process. Also included is a conversation tool which performs fast translations of sentences as you type them in, and a plug-in that can be used with a word processor or other application to produce on-the-fly translation of documents. Another plug-in, designed specifically for use with Web browsers, is also supplied.

The big question – does it work? Certainly well enough to let you understand translated foreign documents. While the English output produced is not perfect, it doesn’t take a genius to spot the errors and tidy up the text so that nobody would guess a machine had translated it. If you need any further convincing, it worked well enough for me to hold an e-mail conversation with my friend’s Italian girlfriend and convince her that I had a strong grasp of her language.

To get the best results from the package you need to follow a few ground rules; keep sentences simple, use formal grammar and construction, avoid metaphors and so on. Essentially, if you use proper formal English, the package won’t have problems producing near perfect foreign language output. When you’re converting foreign language documents to English, obviously you won’t have any control over how well the original text was written but nevertheless, as already mentioned, the output is easily good enough to be understood clearly.

Company: Lernout and Hauspie

Contact: 00 35 1211 1799


Verdict
We're very impressed with this product. It's a particularly good proposition for small business who are using the Web to break into European markets, as it provides instant access to five of the major languages for a very reasonable price.