Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Syntactically savvy editors

So I just finished 15,000 words of a community impact study from Hungarian to English. It was a mind-expanding experience, as HU>EN always is, and I found myself thinking hard about how Word is insufficient for my needs when translating between languages with radically different sentence structure.

This doesn't bother me so much any more with German (I compensate automatically, looking ahead in the German sentence for the structure I know will end up at the start of the English sentence), but in the Romance languages, I tend to backtrack a lot to insert adjectives that I hadn't noticed before starting to type a phrase.

That much I could probably learn to use word navigation for (I've just never learned that because text editors don't have word navigation, so it's not built into my motor cortex like other navigation commands). But in Hungarian, things are freaking different.

In Hungarian, it's not at all unusual for me to need to construct a sentence painfully, phrase by phrase, realizing again and again that the words I'm finding at the end of what I thought was the full phrase actually need to go at the front in English. What I'd like in a situation like this is an editor that understands the syntax of what I'm doing. (Which, of course, is in general impossible - but sometimes, it could probably work.) Some way of keying into a separate tree mode for this sort of editing would really be very useful.

More thought is required; I just wanted to mark the idea now.

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