26 July 2010

Computerized grammar checkers

One of the problems in working with a second language is unfamiliarity with its grammar.  Except for English (which is covered by Microsoft), other languages are sometimes difficult to use because of the lack of writer-friendly grammar guides. Computers may come to the rescue, the way they now do spelling checks and word counts.  Of course, like translation tools, computer programs deal only with the most common issues and are not much help with the nuances that writers work with.  Nevertheless, it's a first step in not looking silly to users of other languages.  For example, we could try CrossCheck for Swedish, BonPatron for French, and LanguageTool for several other languages.  A good writer, needless to say, knows not just common grammatical rules but the intricacies of grammar and usage of the other language, in order to know when and why to break the rules for more important aesthetic considerations.

1 comment:

  1. I often wonder whether the labor a multilingual critic must undergo to penetrate a text, uncover its olayers of meaning, is worth the time it takes. At my age, time is becoming more precious. As the saying goes, art is forever but life is short.