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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Translation Tuesday ~ Parlez-vous français?

Last week I posted death records for two ancestors named Nicolas Schmitt. Thanks to several members of the Alsace-Lorraine mailing list, the questions I had about some of the words have been answered. See the corrections in green here.

I thought I might share a bit of my process to (hopefully) help someone just starting out. And maybe someone reading will suggest a better way to get through the dozens of records I need to transcribe and translate.

After performing the Genealogy Happy Dance at the Family History Center when I locate a French record that belongs to me; I copy the image, the cover page, and the index to my flashdrive. At home I clean up the image with photo editing software.

Using a split screen to view both the image and Google language, I transcribe the record into Google translate. After correcting any obvious errors, I copy and paste the French and English versions in a Word document. Then I tweak the text using the French Genealogical word list from Family Search and the ever-growing list of words and phrases I have learned since I started researching my French ancestry.

FamilySearch also offers some wonderful ~ and free ~ courses for doing research in several countries including France here.

I was intimidated when I started working with French records, but that didn't last long. So if you are gingerly dipping your toes in the French pool, c'mon! Wade on in; l'eau de fines!

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