In this report we have been trying different machine translators to check which are their weak points. We will provide a table in which we can see different examples of several sentences both in Spanish and English. We have divided our work in two sections: in the first part of the table, we can see how machine translators work when translating from Spanish into English. In the second one, we have checked how these translators work translating texts from English into Spanish. In both of them we have found some mistakes we will be commenting on in the conclusion.


In this pryect we are going to analyze how machine traslation works by means of some examples. We have use a table for our purpose where we can see four different columns containning first of all, what we could call the source. Secondly, target 1, which refers to the machine teranslator "Google" offers. The third one, that is to say, target 2, also makes reference to another translator but in this case the one "El Mundo" owns. To finish with, in the last column we can find the translation that is suposed to be the proper one for the source given.

The first examples have been translated from Spanish into English and later on we are providing just the opposite; some translations from English into Spanish.

For our analysis we have used some examples of idioms, phrasal verbs and some other sentences both in Spanish and English. Our next step has been that of collecting the "mistakes" those translators make when trying to provide a good equivalent.

El pastel tiene buena pinta. The pie has good dot. The cake has good looks(dot). The cake looks good.
Me voy a echar una siesta. I am going to throw a siesta. I am going to throw(add) a siesta. I´m going to take a nap.
Raúl tiene una gripe de caballo. Raul has a horse influenza. Raúl has a flu of horse. Rául has a very strong flu.
Este batido sabe bien. This milk shake knows well. This batter knows well. This shake tastes good.
Mi madre hizo un brazo gitano. My mother made an arm gypsy. My mother did a gypsy arm. My mother made a cake.
El pastel estaba la mar de bueno. The pie was the sea of good. The cake was sea of well. The cake was very good.
Esta leche está cortada. This milk is cut. This milk is cut. This milk has soured.
¡Qué escandaloso eres! How scandalous you are! Scandalous what you are! How noisy you are!
Tengo unos pantalones campana color naranja. I have trousers bell color orange. I have a few trousers bell orange color. I have orange bell-bottoms.
Andar con tacones me resulta difícil. To walk with heels is to me difficult. To walk with heels me turns out to be difficult. Walking on high heels is difficult.
Tengo que salir pitando. I must leave tooting. I have to go out whistling. I have to rush now.
Me voy a dar un paseo. I am going away to give a stroll. I am going to devote a walk. I am going for a walk.
Tengo calor. I am warm. I have heat. I am hot.
Let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone at her. Déjelo que esté sin pecado entre usted eche la primera piedra en ella. Déjelo quien es sin el pecado entre Ud echan la primera piedra en ella. El que esté libre de pecado que tire la primera piedra.
It is raining cats and dogs. Está lloviendo gatos y perros. Llueve gatos y perros. Está lloviendo a cántaros.
I am going to let my hair down. Voy dejé mi pelo abajo. Voy a defraudar mi pelo. Me voy a desmelenar/Me voy a soltar la melena.
Tom is going to paint the town red this weekend. Tom va a pintar el rojo de la ciudad este fin de semana. Tom va a pintar la ciudad roja este fin de semana. Tom se va a echar una juerga este fin de semana.
Sam is always pulling Jane´s leg. El Sam está tirando siempre de la pierna de Jane. Sam siempre tira la pierna de Jane. Sam siempre está tomandole el pelo a Jane.
I asked for a whisky on the rocks. Pedí un whisky en las rocas. Pedí un whisky sobre las rocas. Pedí un whisky con hielo.
Sally has been given the sack. La salida se ha dado el saco. Han dado a Salida el saco. Han despedido a Sally.
He kicked the bucket when he was still rather young. Él golpeó el cubo con el pie cuando él seguía siendo algo joven. Él dió patadas el cubo cuando él era todavía bastante jóven. El murió siendo aun bastante joven.
Jim is blue today. Jim es azul hoy. Jim es azul hoy. Jim está triste hoy.
Please, go straight to the point. Por favor, vaya derecho al punto. Por favor, vaya directamente al punto. Por favor, vaya directo al grano.
I will keep an eye on you. Vigilaré usted. Le vigilaré. Te tendré vigilado.
She got bad results in the exams and hit the books. Ella consiguió malos resultados en los exámenes y golpeó los libros. Ella se hizo mala causa los exámenes y el golpe los libros. Ella obtuvo malos resultados en los exámenes y dejó los estudios.
They were fired yesterday. Fueron encendidos ayer. Ellos han sido encendidos(despedidos) ayer. Los despidieron ayer.
He caught my eye in the disco. Él cogió mi ojo en el disco. Él cogió mi ojo en la discoteca. Él me llamó la atención en la discoteca.
We have changed our minds and we are not going to the beach today. Hemos cambiado nuestras mentes y no vamos a la playa hoy. Hemos cambiado nuestras mentes y no vamos a la playa hoy. Hemos cambiado de opinión y hoy no iremos a la playa.
Have you made up your mind or are you still deciding what to do? ¿Usted ha compuesto su mente o usted alambique está decidiendo lo que a hacer? ¿Ud ha decidido encima de o Ud todavía decide qué hacer? Te has decidido ya o todavía estás decidiendo qué hacer?
Fred will never ask Lucy for a date. He's a chicken. Fred nunca pedirá Lucy por una fecha. Él es un pollo. Fred nunca pedirá a Lucy una fecha. Él es un pollo. Fred núnca le pedirá una cita a Lucy. Es un gallina.
Those trousers cost me an arm and a leg. Esos pantalones me costaron un brazo y una pierna. Aquel pantalón me cuesta un brazo y una pierna. Ese pantalón me costó un ojo de la cara.
You have become a couch potato. Usted ha hecho una patata del sofá. Ud se ha hecho un teleadicto. Te has convertido en un teleadicto.
Cut it out! ¡Córtelo hacia fuera! ¡Recórtelo! ¡Para de hacer eso!
I am fed up with the exams. Me están harto de cansado con los exámenes. Estoy harto de los exámenes. Estoy harto de los exámenes.
Yesterday it started to rain and I was soaked to the bones. Comenzó ayer a llover y me empaparon a los huesos. Ayer esto comenzó a llover y he sido empapado a los huesos. Ayer empezó a llover y me calé hasta los huesos.
In the future I want to start a family. En el futuro deseo comenzar a una familia. En el futuro quiero comenzar una familia. En el futuro quiero formar una familia.
At the moment we are majoring in English En el momento que majoring en inglés En este momento nos especializamos en inglés. En este momento estamos estudiando Filología Inglesa.
This jacket has been costum designed. Esta chaqueta ha sido costum diseñado. Esta chaqueta ha sido costum diseñado. Esta chaqueta has sido hecha a medida.
You are not allowed to smoke in class. A le no se permite fumar en clase. No le permiten fumar en la clase. No está permitido fumar en clase.
Temping is not a solution. Temping no es una solución. Temping no es una solución. Los trabajos temporales no son una solución.
He earns a great deal of money as a bank manager. Él gana el dinero mucho como encargado de banco. Él gana mucho dinero como un gerente bancario. Él gana mucho dinero como director de banco.
I bought a new back pack yesterday. Compré un morral nuevo ayer. Compré un paquete nuevo trasero ayer. Ayer, compré una mochila nueva.
I bought these shoes on sales. Compré estos zapatos en ventas. Compré estos zapatos sobre ventas. Compré estos zapatos en las rebajas.
Tap dancing is difficult. El Tap que baila es difícil. El baile de llave es difícil. Bailar claké es difícil.
Peter jumped the queue. Peter saltó la coleta. Peter saltó la cola. Peter se coló.
Take it easy. Tómelo fácil. Tómelo fácil. Tómatelo con calma.
I have it in the tip of my tongue. Lo tengo en la extremidad de mi lengüeta. Lo tengo en la punta(consejo) de mi lengua. Lo tengo en la punta de la lengua.
I can't make heads nor tails of that. No puedo hacer las cabezas ni las colas de ésa. No puedo hacer a cabezas, ni colas de esto. Eso no tiene ni pies ni cabeza.


First of all we are going to analyse the part in which we can find the examples from Spanish into English. The main problem we find is related to the idioms. Whenever we write an idiomatic expression we are provided with a completely literal translation. As an example we can look at the chart; in the first two examples the head of the sentence; that is to say, "echar" and "tener" have been translated literary and this is not themeaning they should have in this case.

There are also some example where we can see ambiguity; for instance, the verb "saber" could have been translated into "to know" or "to taste" and the machine has chosen the more general one which is "to know" as happens in: "Este batido sabe bien " which is translated by the machine as "This milk shake knows well" and " This batter knows well."

Something that translators do correctly is punctuation. The rule of exclamation, interrogatives...marks differ in English and in Spanish. In Spanish the grammar states that such marks must be put before and after the sentences, but in English only after. The machine translators we have worked with apply this rule properly.

According to pronouns, the fact that the use in English is quite different results in non-sense.For example: "Andar con tacones me resulta difícil" is translated into " To walk with heels is to me difficult" .

Taking into account the examples translated from English into Spanish we find the same problem: idioms. This idiomatic expressions are, again, translated literally as we can see in the following example: "It is raining cats and dogs" translated into "Está lloviendo gatos y perros".

These machines do not seem to be familiar with every day expressions either as we can see several sentences such us "whisky on the rocks" which are not translated properly.

According to colours we see that the machines we have chosen have the knowledge of these words. But there are certain cases in English in which those colours have some other connotations; for example, "to be blue" meaning "to be sad" and neither of the translators recognizes this usage.

As regards to the use of determiners, even if in Spanish it is not always necessary their use, the translators always use them just in case as we can see in the example that follows: "He earns a great deal of money as a bank manager" is translated into "Él gana mucho dinero como un gerente bancario."

To finish with, we have to mention that the use of preposition is not always the right one either as we are translated "on sales" in "sobre ventas" instead of saying "en rebajas".


Translation is not an easy task, it is not just the action of translating word by word. That is why machine translators cannot substitute the work human beings do. This is something we have been able to check after working with some machine translators we have found in the net.

Actually, we have been surprised by the great number of failures that this kind of translation . The main problem is that the machines are not able to give the exact translation of the meaning of a sentence. This is because they are, in a way, limited. But this does not happen because of lack of vocabulary. It is just that they do not have the capacity to understand the meaning of some combination of words and give the proper translation as a person does. This happen because the ability for understandable translation can only be achieved by human beings so far.

There seems to be little left to say after having analized the table in different sections such as idioms, everyday language, etc. Yet, we still want to add that we believe El Mundo offers a better translator than Google since there are cases in which some word´s translation is exceptional. We can see this where "couch-potato" is translated into "teleadicto", for instance.

To sum up we must say that machine translators can help us to save time at certain moments such as when we have a lot of new vocabulary. However, this has to improve al lot; which means there is still work for human translators.