Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's all in the translation

At some point a goodly number of us run into languages other than our native one when we are researching. What to do, what to do?
It does not hurt to learn some of the basic words like, birth, marriage, death, family, mother, father, daughter, son, etc. The internet to the rescue aka GOOGLE. You can copy and paste words, phrases etc. and get fairly good translations. Some web sites will let you translate sentences and paragraphs.
The photograph shows my late-father-in-law's genealogy ("Etterkommere etter Ole Eriksen Trones - Familiene Busch, Trones og Lindgaard" by Hermund Pederson). Both of his parents were from Norway and the book tracks 3 descendent lines of a common ancestor (1671 to 1996). There is a very interesting potted history at the beginning of the book. I have a basic idea of what it says (I learned some written Norwegian in high school) but plan on translating it properly, using on-line resources.
Other alternatives if you don't have access to a computer.
1. Talk with the language departments at your local university or high school and find out if anyone would be interested in translating for you. You may have to pay for the service or do some kind of trade.  2. Your local LDS Family History Centers might have people proficient in other languages.
3. Learn the language yourself. In our part of the world Spanish is useful, all my children are learning it and I am trying :)
4. Find out if the paperwork you are looking at has already been translated.
5. Buy a language dictionary.
6. Advertise for help in your local newspaper.
7. Ask at your local library if they know anyone fluent in the language you are researching.
8. Do any native immigrants live near you?
9. Ask at any of your group, school or church activities.

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