We’re back with this month’s sweep of provocative and noteworthy translation and technology news. Google innovates, Microsoft donates, and we even get a good chuckle in.
Microsoft Funds Crowdsourcing App to Aid in Humanitarian Work
Common Sense Advisory: “The Technology for Good grant from Microsoft that Translators without Borders (TwB) received will fund a crowdsourcing app to help communities communicate with aid workers when natural or man-made disasters strike and the aid workers do not speak the same language as the affected populations. The grant includes a package of cash, software, and Azure cloud-based services worth about US$250,000. The app, to be developed using Agile methodology, will initially be available only to East African communities. The first languages to be offered will be Swahili and Somali.” – Translators without Borders Receives Grant from Microsoft
eBay Boosts Machine Translation Results for Russian Shoppers
TechCrunch: “For the past year, [Hassan] Sawaf and his team of 14-15 data scientists and engineers have built a technology that allows Russian [eBay] users to search in Russian, but be able to return queries with English listings that match. Sawaf’s technology takes it one step further, and will determine that a ‘purse’ in an item description, also refers to ‘bag,’ or ‘item,’ or ‘piece,’ providing a more accurate representation of the item in the Russian language. Sawaf says that the search technology, which just launched a month ago, returns significantly more results for Russian eBay users. And twice the amount of users in Russia are inputting search queries in their native language.” – Eyeing Expansion In The BRICs, eBay Doubles Down On Machine Learning And Context Translation
Baidu Search Engine Helps Chinese Learn to Love (and Pronounce) Michelle Obama
South China Morning Post: “During her stay, the Chinese translation of “Michelle” became the hottest search topic on Baidu, China’s largest internet search engine. It was also among the top 10 search terms on Sina Weibo, the country’s most popular microblogging platform, and much of the discussion centred on the first meeting of the two first ladies.” – First ladies Michelle Obama and Peng Liyuan show sky is the limit in improving relations
Android Gets Keyboards for Indic Languages
AuthinMail.com: “The International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) released its Indic language keyboards for Android at the inaugural session of a two day workshop on Free Mobile Platforms. The keyboard layout for Android was developed jointly by ICFOSS and Jishnu Mohan of Swathanthra Malayalam Computing, a 13-year-old community that is working to produce local language technology for Indic languages under the research and development programme of the Indian government’s IT department.” – ICFOSS releases Indic language keyboards for Android
Chrome Adds Emojis to Translation Options 🙂
Google Chrome Blog: “Today we’re announcing Google Translate support for Emoji, built directly into Chrome for Android and iOS. You can now read all your favorite web content using efficient and emotive illustrations, instead of cumbersome text. Our translation algorithm interprets not just the definition of the words on a webpage, but also their context, tone and if appropriate, facial expression. It then distills text into articulate, meaningful symbols so you can get more out of every screen.” – A faster, mobile(r) web with Emoji*
* We hope you enjoyed all of the tech world’s April Fools’ Day jokes as much as we did! Have your own translation tech to share? Add it in the comments!