Archive for ‘Translation’

December 16, 2012

Google translation enigma

My Tumblr friend, Mr. Sheeper, shared a page from a Japanese language website,  アンティーク アナスタシア  I am always happy to hear from him, as he has remained in Japan since the earthquake and nuclear aftermath. In English, the website name is Antiques Anastasia. The focal point is a lovely 18 kt gold slide pendant, in a style evocative of 19th century France.

Translation icon

The original webpage metadata is リュフォニー作 天の元后 レジナ・チェリ 金無垢ペンダント フランス製アンティーク or Pendant of antique gold: Celi Regina, which means “Queen of Heaven”.

This is religious jewelry. The page includes narrative as well as photographs for context. So far, so good.

Original text, prior to Google Translate, side-by-side Latin and Japanese:

Regina Caeli, laetare, Alleluia,
Quia quem Meruisti Partare, Alleluia,
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, Alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, Alleluia.
天の元后よ、喜び給へ。ハレルヤ。
御身産むを許され給へる御子の、ハレルヤ、
自ら言ひ給へるごとくに蘇へり給へばなり。ハレルヤ。
我らがために神に祈り給へ。ハレルヤ。

After Google Translate, Japanese to English, side-by-side Latin and English: 

September 27, 2011

Google Tashkeel for diacritics in Arabic to be discontinued

The name Tashkeel – تشكيل means to “give shape or form”. The process of diacritizing is also called Tashkeel.

Google Tashkeel adds missing diacritics to Arabic text:

Diacritic symbols are crucial to identify how words are pronounced and to disambiguate their meanings. Arabic uses diacritic symbols to specify short vowels.

Google Tashkeel Translation product

Google Tashkeel for Arabic diacritic annotation

The symbols are usually omitted by native speakers when writing, as the word meaning can be inferred by context. However, including diacritics is necessary as a pre-processing step for many text processing applications. Diacritics are used in a similar context in many other languages. The two that I am most familiar with are Chinese and Hebrew.

Google is shutting down Tashkeel

Tashkeel will go offline by September 30, 2011. The URL is

http://tashkeel.googlelabs.com

Arabic language by geography

which explains why Tashkeel is shutting down: It is yet another product closing as part of the Google corporate decision to shutter Google Labs.

Tashkeel will be missed by many users. As of September 16, 2011, the product page had over 200 five-star reviews.

June 27, 2011

Google Translation Story Continues

Last month, developers whose applications and websites depended on the Google Translate API and the underlying Google machine translation were shocked by an unexpected announcement.

Google Says Translate and other APIs WILL be deprecated

Google APIs are deprecated all the time. Usually they are replaced with comparable services or APIs.

But that morning was not like anything else. That morning became cruel and sad when the world heard the news. The linguists and webmasters were taken aback, shocked and stuttered in disbelief. The world learnt on May 26, 2011 that Google is no longer going to support its free machine translator also known as Google Translate

via Lackuna.com: Slaughtering Machine Translators – Who Is Going To Replace Google? 

The Translate API documentation on Google Code makes the situation very clear:

The Google Translate API has been officially deprecated as of May 26, 2011. Due to the substantial economic burden caused by extensive abuse, the number of requests you may make per day will be limited and the API will be shut off completely on December 1, 2011.

Regional languages of India by geographical location on the map

Regional map of India

Google suggests the Translate Element as an alternative to the API for website translation and similar needs.

Welcome to the Indic web

Deprecation of the Google Translate API does not mean an end to human usage of Google Translate.

This becomes very clear with this June 21 announcement on the official Google blog, Google Translate welcomes you to the Indic web. Google Translate announced support of five languages, in alpha* status: Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu.  According to the post,

In India and Bangladesh alone, more than 500 million people speak these five languages.

Special fonts need to be downloaded to use Google Translate with these Indic languages. The post has links to get access to these fonts, free of charge.

It is not clear whether these five alpha languages will be included in the deprecated Translate API before it is taken offline permanently on December 1, 2011.

* Google Translate introduced nearly a dozen alpha languages since 2009. At present, Google Translate supports 63 languages.