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Distributed translation

Chris RageBoy Locke — whom, btw, has posted a knockout portfolio of his Web design work — points out in an email that pages Google translates automatically now let any reader suggest a better translation. So, if you go about a third of the way down this page and look for the first book cover, you’ll see a work by Alan De Benoist, titled “On Being a Floyd.” Hover over the title and you’ll see “On Being a Pagan” in a popup, with a button for you to suggest your own alternative translation. RageBoy is the one who suggested “On Being a Pagan.” Chris refers to Google’s approach as “wide area knowledge acquisition.”

If evil-ass spammers start translating Rilke’s poetry into Viagra ads, then Google will have to come up with some social way of monitoring the reader-contributed translations. But this is another instance of the 1% rule: A tiny percentage of people can make the world better for all the rest. And it’s pretty darn cool. [Tags: ]

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5 Responses to “Distributed translation”

  1. Are you sure about this? In the original Russian-language page the title is given (in English) as “On being a Pagan”; “Floyd” seems to have been inserted in translation. The hover text isn’t ChrisL’s contribution, it’s just the original wording – which in this case happens to be in English.

    Why Google translates the word ‘pagan’ as ‘Floyd’ is another question; it only seems to do this if the source language is Russian.

  2. If there are wiki-like spaces to aggregate, compare (and perhaps rate) the “wide area knowledge acquisition” translations, might they become known as waka spaces … from wikis to wakas ?

  3. You’re probably aware of this by now .. this fellow is demanding an accountability from Chris. Good example of how quickly posses might be mounted on the Web.

    http://www.onebyonemedia.com/from-the-a-list-to-the-blacklist/#comment-54685

  4. And Chris’ response:

    http://www.rageboy.com/2007/03/re-kathy-sierras-allegations.html

    Of course the awfulness aimed at Kathy was horrible.

  5. Hmmm,

    I question the wisdom of allowing just anyone to become a translator.

    It’s a pretty tricky thing to do well, you know?

    Ben


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