My Initial Experience with Google’s Polish to English Translator

Many of the documents I deal with in my genealogical research are written in Polish. Because I’m not particularly fluent in Polish, I’ve tried Polish to English translators including an online translator at http://www.poltran.com/ and a software package called Professional Universal Translator 2000. Neither of these utilities was particularly effective, and so I finally started taking Polish Language Classes.

Jasia of Creative Gene recently discussed Google’s Polish to English Translator and, while my previous experience with Polish to English translators was disappointing, I decided to give Google’s utility a whirl.

I had previously translated a (now missing) web page which provided a drawing and description of the Manor House in Nienadowa, Poland. My paternal ancestors were from Nienadowa, and so this web page held special interest for me.

Here is Google’s translation of the web page:

Manor in Nienadowej

The property is located on the east of San Dubiecka, on the road with Dynowa to Przemyśl. There is a beautiful classical court. The history goes back to the village Nienadowa the sixteenth century. It was at that time owned by the family of Stadnickich. After 1588 the good Nienadowa got into the hands of Anna with Sienna Pileckiej which odstąpiwszy Lancut Stanislav Stadnickiemu in return over the property. Later, the property passed changing hands. Country belonged to Sienieńskich, Derszniaków, Krasickich, Dubrawskich that in the early eighteenth century become the property of the emblem Dembińskich Russell. The last dziedziczką Nienadowej before the reform of agricultural Dembińska was Maria, the wife of Stanislaw Mycielski. At the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth century there existed a wooden manor house, where he spent childhood Aleksander Fredro. Manor this rozebrał husband Eleonora Bardeleben Antoni Dembiński (Insurrection kościuszkowskiej officer) and in its place erected a new brick, which survived until today. The court found surrounded by a beautiful park full of old trees. Many charm give high linden planted close to the eastern parts of the building. After World War II manor house located Osrodek Personnel Training Mechanization of Agriculture, and now belongs to the Mechanical Equipment Factory “Kamax” Kończudze.

He described Rafal Marian Boguslawski h. The site (grandson of Casimir Boguslawski)

My own translation is as follows:

The Manor in Nienadowa

The estate is located on the San River east of Dubiecko, on the highway from Dynów to Przemyśl. A beautiful, classical manor is located there. The history of the village of Nienadowa extends back to the 16th century. At this time it was the property of the Stadnicki family. After 1588, the goods of Nienadowa passed into the hands of Anna Pilecka from Sienno, who took over the property, giving Łancut to Stanisław Stadnicki in exchange. Later, the property passed from hand to hand. The village belonged to the Sienieńskis, the Derszniaks, the Krasickis, the Dubrawskis, so that in the beginning of the 18th century it became the property of the Dembińskis of the Rawicz coat of arms. The last inheritor of Nienadowa before agricultural reforms was Maria Dembińska, the wife of Stanisław Mycielski. At the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, a wooden manor existed there, in which Alexander Fredro spent his childhood. Antoni Dembiński (an officer in the Kościusko insurrection), the husband of Eleanor Bardeleben, dismantled this manor and erected in its place a new brick manor which has survived to this day. A beautiful park, full of old trees, was located in the neighborhood of the manor. Tall linden trees planted right next to the eastern section of the building bestowed much charm. After World War II the manor held the Agricultural Mechanization Personnel Training Center and presently belongs to the Mechanical Equipment Plant “Kamax” in Kańczuga.

Described by Rafał Marion Bogusławski, Count of Ostoja (grandson of Casimir Bogusławski)

It seems that Google’s Polish to English translator is about as good as the Polish to English translators I have used in the past. None of the translators adequately deal with Polish cases, especially the genitive and locative cases. The automatic translators also have difficulty with proper names and place names, especially when those names are declined into cases other than the nominative. Abbreviations are not translated at all.

If someone with no knowledge of Polish were to read the translation provided by Google (or any of the other available Polish to English translators), he or she might be able to decipher the general meaning of the text, but might also come to incorrect conclusions. Researchers with a basic understanding of Polish, however, can use these automatic Polish to English translators for assistance, realizing the limitations of their translation engines.

Copyright © 2008 by Stephen J. Danko

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2 Responses to My Initial Experience with Google’s Polish to English Translator

  1. Cheryl says:

    What a difference in translations! You did a much better job, for all of us who don’t understand Polish. Your version was much easier to read and understand. I am curious, where are you taking Polish language classes?

  2. Hi Cheryl,

    If I had to rely on the Google translation alone, I think I’d be confused about what the web page said. I did, however, use the Google translation to improve upon my own translation, so I think the Google translation was useful to me.

    I’m not currently taking any Polish courses, but I attended class at the Polish club in San Francisco until my teacher moved to New York.

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