Sunday, February 24, 2013

DECIPHERING WELSH WITH GOOGLE TRANSLATE


ne of the treasures in my mother’s many scrapbooks is a newspaper article from a Welsh newspaper.


(1)

Unfortunately, there is no notation as to the name and date of this publication.  In addition, the article is fading with time so parts of it are barely legible.

Despite these problems, I believe the article holds many clues to breaking through the brickwall I have with my Owen line of Welsh ancestors.  Supposedly, my great grandmother, JANE OWEN, and her sister, WINIFRED OWEN, my great grand aunt, were orphaned when they were young girls in Wales. There were other children also. Their parents were ROBERT OWEN and JANE LEWIS. Due to the Welsh practice of using only a handful of names repeatedly, this family has been especially challenging. I do know that WINIFRED OWEN (1858-1915) eventually settled in Mineral Ridge, Trumbull, Ohio. She also married John T. Williams, although I don’t know when or where. For more information on Winifred, see my previous post at http://www.theartofgenealogy.com/2012/12/christmas-babywinifred-owen.html.


Since I don’t know Welsh, except for the obvious proper names, the article is pretty much “Greek” to me. Using Google Translate (http://translate.google.com), I attempted to decipher the article. Google Translate is easy to use. You simply choose the language you wish to translate (using the drop down menu on the left side of the screen) and then choose the desired language (in this case, English). You then type in the baffling text and Google translates it.  It’s not perfect, but it can help you understand the gist of a document.  However, according to FamilySearch’s Wales Language and Languages Wiki article, “Do not, however, rely on a translation of a record made by using a dictionary. Get help from someone who knows the language.”(2)

For now, I will show you some of the results I got from Google Translate.  I believe you can upload your document and then have Google translate it or you can simply type in the text. I chose to just type in the text. There is a limit to the maximum number of characters you can input at one time. There are additional capabilities and tools for Google Translate. For more information see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Translate and http://translate.google.com/about.  According to Google, “Since the translations are generated by machines, not all translation will be perfect.” (3) Here are some examples of how Google translated my article:

(4)

My guess:  Winifred’s parents died when she was 14. Perhaps she lived with or was assisted by an uncle after her parents’ death.  After Winifred began living on Mineral Ridge, her uncle adopted a child for them. This is baffling—I know nothing about an adoption.  Winifred and her husband had a daughter named LEAH WILLIAMS, my 1st cousin, 2 X removed, but, according to several U.S. Censuses, she was born in Ohio in the 1880s. Is it possible that Leah was adopted, or was there another child?  If Winifred’s parents died when she was  14, that would have been around 1872. This possible death date for Winifred’s parents could help me learn more about them.  Did they die together in an accident or did they each die of separate causes that year? Who was the uncle who helped Winifred? That means at least one of her parents had a brother.

(5)
My interpretation of this passage is that Winifred arrived at Mineral Ridge, Ohio, when she was young so she was strangers with her family in the old country of Wales.  
  
It is obvious that I need more help to get the true meaning of this article. In order to obtain further clarification, I could use one of the following methods:
  1. Find a person fluent in Welsh who could translate the document for me out of the goodness of her heart.
  2. Learn Welsh by listening to the Learn Welsh Podcast at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/learn-welsh-podcast/id274989284.
  3. Take an online course in Welsh such as one given by the Madog Center for Welsh Studies at the University of Rio Grande (http://faculty.rio.edu/tjilg/classnotes.htm).
  4. Hire someone to translate the article for me.
  5. Contact a Wales historical society and see if they can help.
I will keep you posted when I get a full translation.

One final note: because my mother’s scrapbooks are feeling the effects of time, I have photographed and/or scanned all the contents.  If you have old scrapbooks, I suggest that you take action right away to preserve their valuable content.



ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1200 Ornamental Letters, 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Women Illustrations, 2004.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Early American Design Motifs, 2003.

CITATION SOURCES:

(1) "Y Ddiweddar Mrs. Winifred Owen Williams," undated newspaper article from unknown source in scrapbook of Jane Williams Cutler Taylor, now in the possession of Karin Hadden.

(2) “Wales Language and Languages,” FamilySearch Research Wiki, Last modified 2 December 2012 (https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Wales_Language_and_Languages: accessed February 24, 2013).

(3) “Find out How our Translations are Created,” Google Translate, (http://translate.google.com/about: accessed February 24, 2013).

(4) Google Translate Welsh to English (http://translate.google.com/#cy/en: accessed February 24, 2013).

(5) Ibid, Google Translate.









2 comments:

  1. Hi Karin, I appreciate your writing. Very informative! I've recently started to pursue journey of the Welsh Language. I feel like Welsh would be a good secondary language because I am partly Welsh, seeing as my name is Anne. Could you translate something for me? I wanted to know how to say "..it was then that I carried you." This is from the "Footprints" poem. Thanks once again! << Teach welsh >>

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  2. Hi Anne,
    Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, I don't know Welsh so I can't translate "it was then that I carried you." I suggest putting it into Google Translate and seeing what you get. When I ran that phrase, I got "yr oedd bryd hynny bod fi a wnaed i chi."
    I am still looking for a translator for my newspaper article.
    There are also many free Welsh language podcasts on itunes.
    I would love to visit Wales!
    Karin

    ReplyDelete