Tag Archives: translation

Progress in the Middle East – if you measure by the number of Facebook users

There are growing signs of progress in the Middle East, if you measure by the total number of Facebook users. That number has skyrocketed since 2010, going from 15 million to near 40 million.

Of those users, a growing number are starting to prefer using the site in their own native language, Arabic.

Of the 39+ million Arabic users on Facebook, 39% prefer to view the site in their native language, while 36% like it in English.

As more users in the region are coming online, with an obvious desire to access sites in Arabic, there is a rising demand for content that appeals to them, and quite a few social media sites are trying to meet that demand.

Twitter recently added support for right-to-left languages, including in Arabic, while Storify is working with a team of volunteers in the Middle East to translate their interface into Arabic.

Arabic is one of the fastest growing languages on sites like Twitter and Wikipedia, and with Yahoo having just licensed the technology behind smart transliteration tool Yamli, it is becoming increasingly easy for Arabic speakers to interact in their mother tongue online.

via The Next Web

 

The numbers are not overwhelming, by any means, considering that there are 152 million users in the U.S. and 232 million in Europe, but it is a positive sign.

 

// Photo – Sean MacEntee

Email in any language – auto-translate now available in Gmail

Did you ever dream about a future where your communications device could transcend language with ease?

Well, that day is a lot closer. Over the next few days, everyone who uses Gmail will be getting the convenience of translation added to their email. The next time you receive a message in a language other than your own, just click on ‘Translate message’ in the header at the top of the message:

 

 

and it will be instantly translated into your language:

 

 

Back when we launched automatic message translation in Gmail Labs, we were curious to see how people would use it.

We heard immediately from Google Apps for Business users that this was a killer feature for working with local teams across the world. Some people just wanted to easily read newsletters from abroad. Another person wrote in telling us how he set up his mom’s Gmail to translate everything into her native language, thus saving countless explanatory phone calls (he thanked us profusely).

Since message translation was one of the most popular labs, we decided it was time to graduate from Gmail Labs and move into the real world.

via – The Official Gmail Blog

 

// Thx – Mihai Ionescu, Photo – Eyesplash

Most of the translation on the planet is now done by Google Translate

“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. By this estimate, most of the translation on the planet is now done by Google Translate.”

Pulled from Breaking Down the Language Barrier via the Google Translate Blog:

The rise of the web has brought the world’s collective knowledge to the fingertips of more than two billion people. But what happens if it’s in Hindi or Afrikaans or Icelandic, and you speak only English—or vice versa?

In 2001, Google started providing a service that could translate eight languages to and from English. It used what was then state-of-the-art commercial machine translation (MT), but the translation quality wasn’t very good, and it didn’t improve much in those first few years. In 2003, a few Google engineers decided to ramp up the translation quality and tackle more languages. That’s when I got involved. I was working as a researcher on DARPA projects looking at a new approach to machine translation—learning from data—which held the promise of much better translation quality. I got a phone call from those Googlers who convinced me (I was skeptical!) that this data-driven approach might work.

I joined Google, and we started to retool our translation system toward competing in the NIST Machine Translation Evaluation, a “bake-off” among research institutions and companies to build better machine translation. Google’s massive computing infrastructure and ability to crunch vast sets of web data gave us strong results. This was a major turning point: it underscored how effective the data-driven approach could be.

But at that time our system was too slow to run as a practical service—it took us 40 hours and 1,000 machines to translate 1,000 sentences. So we focused on speed, and a year later our system could translate a sentence in under a second, and with better quality. In early 2006, we rolled out our first languages: Chinese, then Arabic.

We announced our statistical MT approach on April 28, 2006, and in the six years since then we’ve focused primarily on core translation quality and language coverage. We can now translate among any of 64 different languages, including many with a small web presence, such as Bengali, Basque, Swahili, Yiddish, even Esperanto.

Today we have more than 200 million monthly active users on translate.google.com (and even more in other places where you can use Translate, such as Chrome, mobile apps, YouTube, etc.). People also seem eager to access Google Translate on the go (the language barrier is never more acute than when you’re traveling)—we’ve seen our mobile traffic more than quadruple year over year. And our users are truly global: more than 92 percent of our traffic comes from outside the United States.

 

by Franz Och

Distinguished Research Scientist, Google

 

// Thx to - The Next Web