Monday, January 12, 2009

Welcome Back! Let’s work on foreign languages, shall we?

This is the first day of the semester (in a lot of places) and you may be asked in the coming term to place global points-of-view into perspective. If you look at a lot of global sites, the language barrier can be a problem –thus there are ‘english versions’ and other translation tools. Unfortunately, not everyone translates pages into English, and I sometimes wonder if we get to look at the same news the locals do when it is presented this way.

Back in the internet dark ages, when I would get 75 hits a day on my sports television commentary (I really did; I'm still amazed!), Babelfish and a handful of other translation pages were available. These could translate words or clumps of text into English. Unfortunately most of them were for latin-based languages and had limited scope.

Today Babelfish is a lot more extended, but I would like to highlight yet another Google-related tool if only for its ease of use. Google Translate (Beta, of course) has translation bits a pieces that we're used to, but you can save a bookmark in your browser's toolbar that will translate many pages into your favorite language. Go to the Tools tab in the Translator and follow the easy instructions under "Get 1-click translations from your browser's toolbar". While the translations aren't wonderful, there are many language options to help you get the gist of what is going on in China, Arabic speaking regions, the Ukraine and more (no Swahili yet, drat!).

1 comment:

Translators said...

There are lots of online tools that translate your blog. I saw one today that uses four different translation engines to produce an automatic translation.

I guess its fine to use as a first stage in the translation process - but if you can't read what the tools are outputting then I really wouldn't put in on your blog - I mean it could be saying anything...