DEAR SUN SPOTS: I am a faithful reader of your column and find your knowledge and ability to help so many people totally amazing. Keep up the good work!
I now find myself in need of your expertise. Would there be anyone in Lewiston-Auburn or the surrounding areas who has a good knowledge of Parisian French who could assist in translating a missionary booklet of about 100 pages from English to French? Our missionaries would be using it in French-speaking Africa.
I have also heard that you can put something in English on a computer, and it can translate it to French. Do you know if this is true?
Thanks for any help you can provide. My number is 784-5356. — M.O., Lewiston
ANSWER: To answer the second part of your question first, there are websites where you can enter bits of text or a website and have them translated. To show you the quality, I ran your third paragraph through www.freetranslation.com.
“J’ai entendu aussi que vous pouvez mettre quelque chose dans l’anglais sur un ordinateur et il peut le traduire à français. Savez-vous si ceci est vrai?”
It says on the site that you can translate up to 10,000 words. It also offers to provide human translation, but that is not free.
There are undoubtedly many people in this community, including teachers of French, who could assist you with your endeavor. The trick will be to find someone to do it for free. Perhaps you might break it up into sections and parse it out to many people to make the task a little less overwhelming?
You might also approach the Franco-American Heritage Center for the names of people who might help.
DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have heard several times from people who would like to speak and hear French from those other than their family. Well I have a couple of suggestions.
Every Saturday at 4 p.m. there is a Mass in French at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on Ash Street in Lewiston.
And also once a month at the Franco-American Heritage Center on Cedar Street, the first Friday of the month there is La Rencontre. The cost is only $7, which includes a meal and entertainment, but you need to make a reservation by calling 689-2000.
Maybe one of your readers might have some other information. — Bert Dutil, firstname.lastname@example.org
DEAR SUN SPOTS: Please.provide the address of the nun in Methuen, Mass., to whom to send canceled stamps. I had it and lost it. Thank you for your community service. It keeps me reading the newspaper. — Margaret Ross, Lewiston
ANSWER: Here is a rerun of the sister’s last letter:
DEAR SUN SPOTS: Thank you to all of your readers for the canceled stamps, kind letters and thoughtful cards they have sent to me this past year. I am very grateful for them all. The African villagers can always use more help. Please send your canceled stamps to me at 209 Lawrence St., Methuen, MA 01844. When cutting the stamp out, please leave a little space around it so that the stamp is not damaged. Foreign stamps are the most valuable. Nonprofit stamps are of no use.
There is no such thing as too few. As many as one stamp is welcome. If a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) or a 44 cent stamp is sent, I will send a thank-you note. Thank you in advance for your help. May God bless each and every one of you. — Sr. Gilberte Boisvert, Massachusetts
DEAR SUN SPOTS: I very much would like a Christian flag, but I can only pay $25. Is there an unused one in some church? My phone number is 778-3728. — Elaine Graham, Farmington
DEAR SUN SPOTS: For Jeannine Pelletier of Auburn: The chair backs for directors chairs are very easy to make. If you would take them to an upholsterer, I am sure they could fix you up for a very reasonable price. I have made mine, and they work very well. — Julie Daye, email@example.com
This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.