Translation Tech Roundup, August 2014 Edition
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Translation Tech Roundup, August 2014 Edition

Translation Tech Roundup, August 2014 Edition

ThinkingDo you have your secret decoder ring ready? Because reports from the security sector monitoring nefarious activities revealed that our beloved online tool, Google Translate, is up to far more than translating foreign travel menus. Not that we didn’t know that already!

Okay, it turned out to not be the secret spy speak that conspiracy theorists had hoped for, but it’s certainly given Google Translate some more attention. Great! But there are plenty of other developments in the translation tech space to keep our senses alert. So read on!

The Spy Who Loved Lorem

TechCrunch: “If you’ve spent any time around designers or the Internet, you’ll at least have a passing familiarity with a chunk of text so pervasive online that it’s almost invisible. Called Greeking or Lorem Ipsum, the chunk of Latin is used by many designers as a placeholder for text on Internet pages. And, until recently, it could have been a secret language for spies. [T]oday Brian Krebs wrote about a glitch in Google Translate that automatically turned Lorem Ipsum (in various permutations) into decidedly modern and nefarious-sounding English. Lorem ipsum became “China.” Ipsum lorem became “Internet” and “lorem lorem” translated to China’s Internet. … What could be going on here?” – The Mystery Of Lorem Ipsum,, 18 August 2014

Android: Now, Ich Habla Française

InsideSearch: “For many people out there, speaking just one language isn’t enough. More than half the world’s population speaks two or more languages — and now Google can keep up. With the Google Search app on Android, you can speak in multiple languages and Google will understand you no matter which one you choose. So you can fire off a search for nearby restaurants in English, then dictate a text to your friend in French.

You can use voice search in more than 50 languages and dialects already, but previously you had to change your settings if you wanted to switch languages. Now, you can just make a small, one-time change to your settings, and then you can switch back and forth easily. Google will automatically detect which language you’re using.” – Speak more than one language? So does Google,, 21 August 2014

From Tweeting to Yelping

Yelp: “Picture this: You’re vacationing in Milan and want to try the best gelato in the city. Although there’s a gelato shop on every corner, you want to find the real deal — a spot that isn’t overflowing with tourists. You whip out your handy Yelp app to begin the search, but find yourself wishing you paid more attention in Italian class in high school. Now you can discover recommendations straight from the local experts themselves, no matter what language they speak. The Yelp app uses Bing Translator to translate foreign language reviews with the tap of a button. You can translate one review, or all reviews in one language at a time.” – Goodbye Language Barriers, Hello Mobile Review Translation!,, 7 August 2014

One Font to Woo Them All

NPR: “[Google] is working on a font that aims to include ‘all the world’s languages’ — every written language on Earth. Right now, [font family] Noto includes a wide breadth of language scripts from all around the world — specifically, 100 scripts with 100,000 characters. That includes over 600 written languages, says Jungshik Shin, an engineer on Google’s text and font team. The first fonts were released in 2012. But this month, Google (in partnership with Adobe) has released a new set of Chinese-Japanese-Korean fonts — the latest in their effort to make the Internet more inclusive. But as with any product intended to be universal, the implementation gets complicated — and not everyone for whom the product is intended is happy.” – Can Google Build A Typeface To Support Every Written Language?,, 3 August 2014

Crowdsourcing for a Better Translation

EWeek: “To make Google’s online translation services even better, Google has created an online Translate Community where volunteers can add their personal language expertise to help make the services more accurate for people seeking help with foreign languages. The new Translate Community was announced by Sveta Kelman, Program Manager for Google Translate, in a recent post on the Google Translate Blog. ‘Google Translate helps billions of people communicate and learn new languages, but it could always use a little help,’ wrote Kelman. ‘Luckily, there are a lot of multi-lingual people around the world who have offered to pitch in.’” – Google Asks Language Lovers to Help Refine Translate Services,, 14 August 2014