Google, Duolingo and the Problems of Internet Translation

Duolingo’s push to “translate the web” is not as straightforward as it seems.

Luis von Ahn, creator of the reCAPTCHA verification system that helps digitalize books, has set out to “translate the web into every major language.” In this TED talk, he reminds us the Internet is fragmented into multiple languages and that the biggest portion is in English. “If you don’t speak English,” he points out, “you can’t access it.” Read more

Translation Problems on Travel Sites

Sixty-five percent of travel sites in France contain blunders or translation errors according to the latest study by TextMaster; professional translation services as well as writing and editing online content is estimated at over a 120 million euro loss each year.

“Our top stay,” “Challenger Destination,” “Acceptable Use Policy,” “Speedy Rental,” “Some Useful Informations,” and “Well-Being Expect For You” are all expressions found on the pages of travel sites.

The E-Tourism sector is worth €18.5 Billion in France. With a conversion rate that is increased to 70% when a site is completely multilingual, it is estimated the industry loses more than €120 million annually because of bad translations or flagrant errors: “Multilingualism is fundamental for a tourism site that aims, in essence, to reach for an international audience. But sometimes it’s the best translations that are the enemy, and it’s better to translate a site poorly into 40 languages than excellently into 5-10 languages,“ says Thibault Lougnon TextMaster CEO. The study also reveals that 58% of these sites have non-translated texts, i.e. phrases in French in the English version and English expressions in the French version. Finally, 33% of French travel sites have no English translation at all.


Visual translation service Waygo now lets you translate Chinese and Japanese texts on Android

One of the most challenging facets of travel is the language barrier. While this is less of an issue for English-speakers in countries that share a similar alphabet, such as in France or Germany, in places like China or Japan simple things like reading road signs or seeing what’s on the menu for breakfast can be problematic. Read more

What Languages Are Likely to Get You a Top UK Job?

The globalisation and digitalisation of world business means companies are branching out across the world, looking to tap the economic growth of emerging markets.

However, experts have said that if potential employees, especially graduates, do not bolster their language skills, then they could miss out on securing top positions in companies.

All Languages, a translation and interpreting agency, says English no longer has the same dominance, particularly in respect of the internet. Read more

Found in translation … when misquoting someone is the best way to be fair and accurate

“I want to take physical exercise with the guitar” – this phrase is what, my uncle informed me through much mirth, I was saying when I was fighting over said instrument (well, a toy version of it) with my cousin in India one childhood summer.

The confusion, and subsequent hilarity, was the result of my English-first speaking brain, translating the wordplay into a context that has no existence in Bengali. Play as in “I will play a game” (khelbo) simply cannot be used in the way we say “I will play the xylophone” (bajabo), and certainly not any others: “I will play a part” (hobo) in a, well, play (natok). Read more

Twitter adds ‘LOLcat’ language option to drive awareness of Translation Centre

Twitter has added the LOLcat language option to its settings page, allowing users to browse the micro-blogging site in the language made famous by the ‘I can haz?’ meme.

A message from Twitter on Friday evening read: “Happeh Fridai! U can nao change ur language 2 lolcat in Settings. Hope u liek it.” Read more