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Language Translation

 
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roger.pape
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Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 386
Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:55 am    Post subject: Language Translation Reply with quote

You may have noticed the small button at the top left corner of the home page on this website. It allows one to translate the pages of the website to another language. This nice widget is supplied by a commercial translation company at ConveyThis.com. It provides convenient access to a number of sites on the Internet that supply real-time web page translation between a variety of languages. Since each of these sites has its own set of features, advantages/disadvantages and varying level of quality, you may want to try several of them. (More on an evaluation of the sites below.) Note that, while they provide the translation of text on a web page, none of them will translate the text in some linked files, such as PDF files or images.

Why was this added? As Americans, we seem to expect that everyone should be able to read and speak English. However, the number of Internet users in other countries has grown rapidly. Furthermore, we have relatives and friends in other lands that may be fluent only in the language of the “old country”. Therefore, I felt that it would be appropriate to make the pages of the website accessible in other languages.

Those who have read some of my earlier postings know that I have tinkered with machine translation for a number of years. Language translation by computer was pioneered by the Dept. of Defense back in the early years of the cold war. It has slowly progressed over the last 50 years or more such that there are a number of systems available on the Internet that do a plausible job of translating text between different languages. It is a complex problem with all of the ambiguities and structural variations in each language. Earlier rules-based systems seem to have been replaced with statistical systems (or a hybrid of the two). None of the current systems are perfect but, if you are willing to accept a certain amount of “awkwardness” in the translation, you can generally get the gist of most translated text.

In addition to translating the text of websites on the fly, most of these sites also provide the facility to translate blocks of text that are typed or pasted into an entry box. So if you have some text that you want to translate or if you want to translate a letter that you are e-mailing to someone in another country, you might be interested in investigating these features. Google and Yahoo, for example provide toolbar icons you can add to your browser.

The following is my quick evaluation of the various on-line translators. Since I am not multilingual, I cannot judge the accuracy of the translations, but some of you who are may want give them a try and see how good (or poor) they are. What’s interesting is the wide variations in translations that are provided by the different sites. Take a look at the same text translated by several sites and you will see what I mean.

Alta Vista Babel Fish – The best all-around Web page translator. It is powered by SYSTRAN (a pioneer in the machine translation business) and provided by Yahoo. It appears to be the most successful in handling variations in the HTML of various pages.

Google – This is becoming the most popular translation site because of the wide variety of languages it supports and add-ons it provides. It has problems with some HTML formats. It also seems to give up on some words and phrases and provide the original language. If you want to view a page containing Google Maps, you will have to use this translator because the other translators will corrupt the key needed to access the map software.

SDL – Provided by FreeTranslation.com. It only translates the home page (i.e. the page on which the button resides.) Not useful when browsing various pages of a website.

InterTran – Avoid this site!

LiveTranslate – Microsoft’s language translator. A nice feature of this site is that it provides a side-by-side comparison of the original and translated pages. Good if you have a wide display screen. The translation appears slowly so you have to be patient.

Promt – (As in PROfessional Machine Translation) Provided by Online-Translator.com. It appears to work quite well. It has a nice feature that, as you mouse over the translated text, a balloon with the original sentence or phrase will appear.


Last edited by roger.pape on Tue Mar 17, 2015 7:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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roger.pape
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 386
Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:40 pm    Post subject: Translation Service Changes Reply with quote

The translation service that I have been using for this website (ConveyThis.com) has changed several times recently. First, it dropped access to multiple translation engines. Now, in its latest configuration, it will only translate a single page, so it would have been necessary to embed a lot of code in each of the web pages, subpages and various forum pages.

Instead, I decided to hard-wire the Babel Fish translator on the main page. When this translator is selected, it automatically translates all subsequent pages on the website. The only shortcoming is that one cannot access the plat maps from Google when the translation is started. Perhaps, at some point I will get the Google translator working better so that feature is also accessible.
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roger.pape
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 386
Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 7:03 am    Post subject: Translate button Reply with quote

If you enter a message board page directly rather than from the main page of the website, you will not find a translate button on any of the forum pages. I haven't yet figured out a way to add one there. Instead, you will have to go back to the main page (http://concordia-memories.org), click on the button in the upper left corner, and navigate back to the message board page.
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