Take the 2-minute tour ×
Web Applications Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for power users of web applications. It's 100% free, no registration required.

When I type in "do you want to go?" into Google Translate it gives me in French:

voulez-vous aller?

and in German it gives me

willst du gehen?

Is there a way to change the settings so that it always gives both the personal and polite form version for all languages which have this characteristic?

share|improve this question
1  
It appears to take the tone in English as a directive as to how you ask the question. Try "Would you like to go?", which translated to "Möchten Sie gehen?". –  Bernhard Hofmann Jul 8 '10 at 6:17
add comment

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Using "thou" sometimes helps, and so does "you all", but there is no foolproof way to get the correct form.

Google translate is based on statistical inference (not structural parsing / substitution), so the vous/tu usage is inconsistent.

you are very pretty -> tu es très jolie

you are very nice -> vous êtes très belle

I can only speculate "pretty" is more intimate than "nice" and more often encountered with "tu" forms in parallel translations Google's algorithms were trained on.

share|improve this answer
1  
+1 interesting that it does that –  Edward Tanguay Jul 8 '10 at 12:04
add comment

For the German 'du' familiar form simply type 'du' instead of 'you'.

Example: "What do du want?" will translate as "was willst du werden?"

Just be sure to type 'du' the first time. If you accidentally type 'you' it keeps it in the proper 'Sie' formulation.

Hope that helps.

share|improve this answer
add comment

You have to use :

dost thou want to go?

Which gets (almost) correctly translated to

tu veux aller?

I don't think there's a way to get both, as "you" is the polite form in english, and google will translate it to the polite form in other languages

share|improve this answer
    
tu is not the polite form in French. English does not have a separate polite and non-polite form. –  Roald van Doorn Jul 8 '10 at 7:35
    
no, indeed, "tu" is not the polite form in french, neither is "thou" in english. Thats' the whole point of my reply... English used to have a personal form, which has fallen into disuse, but aparently google is still capable of translating it correctly. –  jfoucher Jul 8 '10 at 8:41
    
the best would be if Google Translate would always give you all possible forms, I wonder if there is a setting to make it give all forms, would be nice –  Edward Tanguay Jul 8 '10 at 12:03
    
English still has a personal form, it's just fallen out of use in some dialects. But not all dialects, as you will quickly discover if you visit Yorkshire. –  Mike Scott 20 hours ago
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.