This is my dumping ground for quotes and other stuff relating to the wonderful world of digital & communications.
Today we have more than 200 million monthly active users on translate.google.com. … more than 92 percent of our traffic comes from outside the United States. … In a given day we translate roughly as much text as you’d find in 1 million books. To put it another way: what all the professional human translators in the world produce in a year, our system translates in roughly a single day
ViKi is an open-source-like solution for video, and acquires the rights to TV shows and movies. The site then puts it on one of its channels and within the first 24 hours an organized, volunteer community subtitles the content using ViKi’s software.
To date, 150 million words have been subtitled in 160 languages by the ViKi community, and the site features 5,000-plus hours of content.
According to the latest research (by Eurobarometer), over half of all European Internet surfers use a language other than their native tongue when online, with 44% of those surveyed stating that this was a barrier to truly understanding the online content.
(A new trend)… using the spoken output of Google Translate as the vocals for self-composed songs
It is estimated that there are over 1 billion people learning a foreign language. So, the site that we’ve been working on, Duolingo, will be a 100% free language learning site in which people learn by helping to translate the Web.
There are over 100 African languages with 1m or more speakers… some of the languages exist in written form only in missionary dictionaries, which may have missed some of the finer points. “This will be the first time for these 100 or so languages to be written at scale,” says Gikunda, a Meru. The opportunities for enhancing local cultures are innumerable. Meru is a language with 1.3m speakers centred on Mount Kenya. Gikunda argues that websites in Meru will deepen the understanding of Meru culture: how to take care of cattle and goats, how to look at the night sky, how to get married, or buried, the Meru way. A new technology will turn into a recovery of a world that existed before.
Meru will have to wait its turn. For now, Google is concentrating on Africa’s so-called Tier One languages: Swahili, Amharic, Wolof, Hausa, Afrikaans, Zulu, and possibly Setswana and Somali (in addition to English, Arabic, French and Portuguese). This is Google as an anti-Babel, with the utopian goal of a future in which all information is available in anyone’s language. The tragedy for many African languages is that there is not nearly enough written down: millions of words of text are needed to create a database for statistical-based translation. The hope is that as the global is pulled down, the indigenous is pulled up. “At the moment, indigenous knowledge is trapped,” says Gikunda.
In response to continued blackout of the Internet in Egypt, Google and Twitter set up phone numbers for protesters to call that would automatically be turned into voicemail messages that would be tweeted on the account @speak2tweet… Volunteers outside of Egypt are collaborating online to get those voicemails (mainly in arabic) translated into English…. In 5 hours the volunteers completed the translation of nearly 200 phone messages.
Today, more than 90% of content on the Internet exists in only 12 languages, so many users of the 6 000 languages in the world are overlooked
the Internet, with its unparalleled ability to connect people throughout the world, is changing the way that many people learn languages. There is no still way to avoid the hard slog through vocabulary lists and grammar rules, but the books, tapes and even CDs of yesteryear are being replaced by e-mail, video chats and social networks. Livemocha, a Seattle company with $14 million in venture capital financing, mixes a social network with lessons for more than 38 of the world’s more common languages.
Google’s quick rise to the top echelons of the translation business is a reminder of what can happen when Google unleashes its brute-force computing power on complex problems. The network of data centers that it built for Web searches may now be, when lashed together, the world’s largest computer. Google is using that machine to push the limits on translation technology. Last month, for example, it said it was working to combine its translation tool with image analysis, allowing a person to, say, take a cellphone photo of a menu in German and get an instant English translation. “Machine translation is one of the best examples that shows Google’s strategic vision,” said Tim O’Reilly, founder and chief executive of the technology publisher O’Reilly Media. “It is not something that anyone else is taking very seriously. But Google understands something about data that nobody else understands, and it is willing to make the investments necessary to tackle these kinds of complex problems ahead of the market.
when the Iranian elections came up, and then the disputes, we found out they were using Facebook as a tool to organize themselves and expose their qualms and discontent with the government. So publicly we translated the entire site into Farsi within 36 hours. It was our second right-to-left language, which was actually really difficult for us. Literally the entire site is flipped in a mirror. The fact that we did it in thirty-six hours — they hired twenty some-odd translators, and engineers worked around the clock to get it rolled out — was pretty fucking phenomenal.