This month, we have translation tech news from mobile app pioneers to expanded translation services for government bureaucrats. There are also rumors — er, strong evidence — that Apple is hiring personnel to further localize iOS Siri’s suite of languages. Check it all out below!
Twitter, Bing Tighten Translation Integration
CNET: “Twitter has broadened its use of Microsoft’s Bing translation services to iPhones and iPads. The company’s app for Apple’s mobile devices has now begun showing an option to show a translated version of tweets below the native-language version. As with Twitter’s Android app translation test, which CNET first reported in May, the translation doesn’t show in the stream of tweets shown in the app’s timeline, but does when you tap on an individual tweet.” — Twitter brings Bing translation to iOS, expands use on Web, 13 June 2014
eBay Acquires AppTek’s MT Software, Staff
TechCrunch: “eBay’s focus on international expansion continues: yesterday its PayPal division announced PassPort, aimed at attracting more international sales, and today eBay is announcing the acquisition of machine translation technology from a company called AppTek. … AppTek was founded in 1990 by Mohammad Shihadah and Mudar Yaghi, and in more recent years had been developing hybrid machine translation software, which will help eBay improve upon its own in-house machine translation capabilities it began working on two years ago.” — eBay Acquires Machine Translation Capabilities From AppTek To Help Expand International Sales, 13 June 2014
U.S. Government Expands Language Learning Service
National Defense Magazine: “The Department of Defense recently made language learning software previously used only by specialists available to all government and military personnel. The Joint Language University web portal’s CL-150 language learning software was originally designed for linguists, or those needing to learn a foreign language. It is now free to anyone with a .gov or .mil email address, said Michael Quinlan, CEO of Transparent Language, the software’s creator. Known as the Technology Matrix for Critical Languages, the CL-150 is a combination of language technology and content that supports language learning, sustainment, assessment, reporting, and program management for government personnel and programs.” — Language Learning Software Now Free to All Military, Government Personnel, 25 June 2014
Apple to Roll Out More Languages for Siri
AppleInsider: “According to Apple’s ‘Jobs at Apple’ website, the company is seeking ‘Siri Language Engineers’ fluent in Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish and Russian, all of which are currently unsupported by the voice recognizing digital assistant. The job postings were first uncovered by MacRumors. Along with the nine new languages, Apple is looking to enhance Siri’s existing lexicon with hires fluent in Australian and British English, Cantonese and Japanese. All listings ask not only for fluency, but for native speakers to handle colloquialisms locals may use when speaking to Siri. Apple also strives to make Siri’s own speech as natural as possible, meaning the potential hires will likely be working on responses to user queries.” — Apple looking to expand Siri localization with at least 9 new languages, 23 June 2014
Translation App for Indigenous Languages Published
Leader Post: “The File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council [of southwestern Saskatchewan, Canada] believes the key to language preservation is technology. So on Monday, FHQTC launched its iTunes Language App for Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Nakoda and Lakota — the five language groups that comprise the tribal council. The applications will now be accessible for download on iTunes for free. It took three years and several fluent language speakers to complete the language project.” — Tradition meets technology with indigenous language app, 24 June 2014
WeChat Adds In-App Translation Automation
India Times: “WeChat messenger has created quite a boom in India and the latest feature of the app is a translation service. The new feature lets users translate text messages from one language to another. The feature is unique to messenger apps as none of the other popular messenger apps provide in-app translation. Currently, the app supports 20 international languages for translation. Some of the languages you can use to translate the text into are: English, Hindi, Arabic, Hebrew, Bahasa Indonesia, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese, French, Mandarin, Portuguese, Urdu, and German. Unfortunately, except Hindi, the app does not support any Indian languages. There’s no lengthy process involved or no copy paste. All the user needs to do it press and hold down the text he/she wishes to be translated and from the list of options that pops up, choose the translate option.” — WeChat Adds New Language Translation Feature to the App, 26 June 2014
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