“Google is working on auto-translation products. This will allow content, trapped within a language such as Japanese, to be freed for consumption world wide by all.”
Machine translations, like those at altavista’s BabelFish, are laughably bad, but so far, better than nothing.
Can Google do better?
You simply can’t count on any of the existing machine translations if you need to be precise, and it remains to be seen whether Google can do any better. However, machine translations are likely to be around for a long time to come because companies that will spend millions to translate that thousands upon thousands of pages in many big sites are few and far between.
And few translation companies have the resources to translate huge volumes of material. My family’s translation company, SRF Translations Global, for example, specializes in nuanced, localized, and precise multilanguage compliance materials for multinational companies.
The Web is still US-Centric
Although almost 70% of the content on the web is in languages other than English, and growing fast, most American companies’ websites are totally US-centric. It’s rare indeed to see a site available in a language other than English. We’ve clearly got a ways to go before we have a truly global economy.
HP’s New Gesture Keyboard: A Giant Leap, a Small Price
HP has taken a giant step toward serving the needs of a world market by launching a new “gesture keyboard” that will sell for between $45 and $50. It should, says the San Jose Mercury, “make typing tasks like Web browsing easier for millions of people in India who read and write languages that don’t translate well into a Western alphabet.”
The technology, developed by HP’s research unit in Bangalore, India, may offer an answer to the Palo Alto-based computer and printer giant’s soul-searching (but gramatically incorrect) slogan of “Where’s our next billion customers going to come from?”
After English (32% of web visitors) the most-requested languages on the world wide web are Chinese 13%, Japanese 8%, Spanish 7%, German 6% and French 4% (from Internet World Stats, updated November 30, 2005).