14 July 2014

Kan u hep me fine my famly?

Usually in genealogy we say that spelling doesn't count. That applies to searches and records created before the advent of Social Security, not to Facebook and message board posts. If you want to be taken seriously, in life not just in the genealogy world, learn to proofread. Spelling, grammar, capitalization (especially of surnames)...it all matters.
This is especially important if you're posting on a page/group/message board where the language used is not one you are fluent in. If you don't use an online translator before you post another user will use one after. They may be able to help you break down a brick wall but if you can't write a coherent post you won't be able to communicate with them.
If you are posting, or reading posts, on Facebook I would recommend not using the Bing translator that automatically appears on some Facebook posts. If there are minor misspellings Google Translate will suggest possibilities. I pasted the title of this post into Google Translate and while it detected the sentence as Norwegian it also asked if I meant, "Can u help me find my family?" Bing, on the other hand, detected English and the translation was the exact same thing I pasted in to be translated. I have also seen the "see translation" option under Facebook comments that were entirely in well written English.
One last tip, no online translator is perfect. If you are going to publish something in another language try to find an actual person to proofread your work. Otherwise you could end up with something like this.

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  1. An additional piece of advice to posters on query boards: if someone asks for clarification (especially of a specific point), failure to respond will be seen by other readers as indicative that the poster does not care about getting an answer.

  2. Google translate can be funny. In Norwegian though it would actually be kan du hjelpe meg å finne min familie?