Content on the Multilingual Web: 4-5 April 2011, Pisa, Italy

The EU-sponsored Multilingual Web workshop will be taking place next week in Pisa, Tuscany‘s home to the famous leaning tower of Pisa. I will be giving a presentation at the workshop on Website translation using post-edited machine translation and crowdsourcing. See the full workshop program here.

In an email I received today from workshop organizer Richard Ishida, he announced several options to follow the conference proceedings.

During the MultilingualWeb workshop in Pisa we will have people summarizing the speaker presentations in an IRC channel. These notes will be available in real time, and will be made available later from the multilingualweb.eu site.

This is particularly helpful for those at the workshop who are unable to hear the speakers, and those who struggle due to language difficulties. People who could not make it to the workshop can also follow the gist of the discussions, since this will be available on an open channel.

In addition, you can *contribute* to the channel while it is running. Here are details of how to follow the IRC channel.

If you have an IRC client: Join the #mlw channel on irc.w3.org:6665

Otherwise use the web client:

  • Go to http://irc.w3.org/
  • You will be asked to provide a nickname.
  • Choose something short.
  • Next you are asked for a channel.
  • Type #mlw.
  • You will see the conversation taking place in the main part of the page. You can participate by typing in the white line at the bottom of the page. You can practice joining the channel before the workshop starts, if you like.

TWITTER

You are encouraged to tweet your thoughts during the workshop. Please use the hashtag #mlwpisa.

FLICKR

If you take photos during the workshop and upload to Flickr, we suggest you use the mlwpisa tag when you upload. We will then try to link to those photos from the multilingualweb.eu site.

If you make information available using other social media channels, feel free to let us know and we’ll see if we can link to that too.  We are also especially interested in tracking blog posts about the workshop.

Scots Bible translator dies in terrorist attack

A Christian missionary who lived in the Western African country of Togo was the victim of a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem on Wednesday March 23. Mary Gardner was a British Bible scholar and translator who had worked on translating the New Testament into the Ifé language. She was studying Hebrew at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She was planning to return to Togo to begin work on translation of the Old Testament.

Ifé is an obscure dialect of the Yoruba language. Yoruba is spoken in Western Africa by about 20 million people. The meaning of the word “ife” in the Yoruba language is “love.”

Ms. Gardner had been working for the Scottish Wycliffe Bible Translators, an non-profit organization which is funded by various Christian charities. This missionary organization is devoted to spreading the gospel of Christ all over the world by translating the Bible.

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From Russia with Love: GTS Translation Plugin gets new language

When we released the GTS translation plugin for WordPress in September 2010 it provided translation from English to French, Italian, German and Spanish. Now we have released a new software version that supports Russian, using the Microsoft Translation API. And we plan on adding more languages very soon.

The GTS translation plugin offers a unique approach to automated translation of blogs and websites that are built using the open-source WordPress CMS. Our plugin provides human translation of content through post-edited machine translation. The plugin offers a complete set of tools for crowdsourcing your own translations by creating your own community of translators. When installed, the GTS translation plugin promotes SEO of websites and blogs. All translated content is cached in the WordPress database so it can be found and indexed by search engines. Permalink URL names are also translated, as are the category and tag pages.

Since its initial release, the GTS translation plugin has been downloaded several thousand times and has been installed in about 200 websites. You can download the GTS translation plugin from here.

The best things in life are free? Google Translate clamps down on Terms of Service abuse

Google Translate is the most popular translation software in the world. And it is free. But is it becoming too popular? It appears that Google is making some effort to curtail the use of its translation software by shutting down websites and software applications that use the Google Translate API in violation of its terms.

Whenever you install an application on your website that was developed using the Google Translate API, you had better make sure that your website does not violate its ToS. For if you do, Google may block or throttle your website’s access to the Google API. When this happens, your customers will see the following message:

Unable to perform Translation: Suspected Terms of Service Abuse. Please see http://code.google.com/apis/errors.

For example: if your website charges users, you can’t install a Google translation widget of any kind. Caching or storing translations? Against the API ToS. Is it being enforced? I am not sure, but Google blocks hundreds of websites a day from accessing its Google Translate API. Click here to see some examples.

When we started to develop our blog translation plugin last year, we avoided using Google Translate even though it is ‘free.’ Instead, we licensed our own machine translation technology at considerable cost. I think it was a smart move.

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Yandex drops PROMT, releases its own Russian and Ukranian machine translation software

Yandex, the leading search engine in Russia, has released a new machine translation service that translates text and web pages between English and Russian, English and Ukrainian, and between Russian and Ukrainian. The translation software was built using SMT (Statistical Machine Translation) technology. Read the press release here.

Yandex Translate

Russia’s Internet search market is one of the only ones in Europe not dominated by Google. The main reason for this is language-related: Russian, with is unique morphological structure and abundant inflection patterns, makes Internet search extremely difficult.  Yandex search engine is steeply rooted in the peculiarities of the Russian language.

Yandex had been using PROMT for web page translation since 2009, but decided to develop and launch its own proprietary system. This move is reminiscent of the move that Google made when it left Systran and launched Google Translate. In addition to MT, Yandex currently offers dictionary lookup which is based on technology by Russian language software company ABBYY.

The user interface of Yandex Translate is not in English yet, which will make it difficult for non-Russian speakers to use. But I am sure that Yandex will offer an English UI soon. How good is the Russian translation? I can’t say at this time. Perhaps Logrus chief Serge Gladkoff or someone else can shed some light on this by comparing Yandex Translate to Google Translate.