IxDA Digest Translation

22 Apr 2008 - 12:55pm
6 years ago
15 replies
669 reads
Jeff Howard
2004

Based on Alexander's comment in the "Interaction Design in Europe"
thread last week, I decided to try feeding a few IxDA threads through
Google's translation API. Judging from the results, I think it might
be possible to generate language-specific thread digests for the main
discussion list.

Here are a few prototypes:
http://www.ixda.org/digests/digest_spanish.html
http://www.ixda.org/digests/digest_portuguese.html
http://www.ixda.org/digests/digest_french.html
http://www.ixda.org/digests/digest_german.html
http://www.ixda.org/digests/digest_danish.html
http://www.ixda.org/digests/digest_swedish.html

I'm not fluent in these languages, so it's hard to tell whether
Google's machine translation is good enough to support the kind of
discussions we have. Any native speakers care to comment?

If IxDA provided this type of translation, would it be helpful? The
above list is just an example. I think that language-specific digests
could probably be output for any translation Google supports.

// jeff

Comments

22 Apr 2008 - 1:17pm
Oleh Kovalchuke
2006

Spanish is quite good (to my knowledge), or, at the very least,
intelligible.
Is there Russian?

Oleh

On Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 12:55 PM, Jeff Howard <id at howardesign.com> wrote:

> Based on Alexander's comment in the "Interaction Design in Europe"
> thread last week, I decided to try feeding a few IxDA threads through
> Google's translation API. Judging from the results, I think it might
> be possible to generate language-specific thread digests for the main
> discussion list.

22 Apr 2008 - 1:56pm
Eduardo F. Ortiz
2008

Spanish is at best "intelligible", not too bad (at least most words are
there), but I would not consider it a translation per se.

e.g.

>From the translation:

> Hay bastante interacción de los programas de diseño en Europa que han
> las comunidades locales, como el Programa de Estudios de Postgrado en
> el Instituto de Uemea Diseño (Suecia) y el Royal College of Art
> (Londres).
>
> Should read:

> En las comunidades locales de Europa hay bastantes programas de Diseño de
> Interacción, como el Programa de Estudios de Postgrado en el Instituto de
> Diseño Uemea (Suecia) y la Universidad Real de Arte (Londres)
>

Eduardo

22 Apr 2008 - 2:26pm
Anonymous

hi,

i'd say French translation is quite bad;
it may give a sense about the nature of the discussion, ... if needed ...

best,

alok nandi
http://design.architempo.net
http://pechakucha.architempo.net

At 21:56 22/04/2008, Eduardo Ortiz wrote:

>Spanish is at best "intelligible", not too bad (at least most words are
>there), but I would not consider it a translation per se.
>
>e.g.
>
> >From the translation:
>
> > Hay bastante interacción de los programas de diseño en Europa que han
> > las comunidades locales, como el Programa de Estudios de Postgrado en
> > el Instituto de Uemea Diseño (Suecia) y el Royal College of Art
> > (Londres).
> >
> > Should read:
>
> > En las comunidades locales de Europa hay bastantes programas de Diseño de
> > Interacción, como el Programa de Estudios de Postgrado en el Instituto de
> > Diseño Uemea (Suecia) y la Universidad Real de Arte (Londres)
> >
>
>
>Eduardo
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22 Apr 2008 - 2:41pm
Fred van Amstel
2005

It was reasonably readable in portuguese.

This reduce the access barrier, but does not enable the participation
of poor-english speaking people like me. It´s much more easy for me to
read english than to write, that´s why I barely participate on this
list.

--
.
.{ Frederick van Amstel }. Curitiba ´´ PR
¶ ...''''''''''|| www.usabilidoido.com.br
Instituto www.faberludens.com.br
.
MSN e Gtalk usabilidoido at gmail.com
\\...................

--
.
.{ Frederick van Amstel }. Curitiba ´´ PR
¶ ...''''''''''|| www.usabilidoido.com.br
Instituto www.faberludens.com.br
.
MSN e Gtalk usabilidoido at gmail.com
\\...................

22 Apr 2008 - 4:06pm
milan
2005

Helpful .. maybe to non-english speakers, but there are some strange
things happening in the French version

Tiago wrote
"On what concerns the USA, that's not surprising"

and the Google-French is like this
"En ce qui concerne la France, ce qui n'est pas surprenant"

So Google translates "the USA" with "la France" ?! However the text is
quite difficult to read and full of grammatical errors due to a
misinterpretation of the English grammar in the original text.

The German version is equally funny to read, not a single sentence is
correct, but I think you could understand 30-60% of the sense without
reading the English text, depending on language complexity and with some
luck with Google's capabilities.

In fact I use these tools often to translate text in for example Spanish
or Japanese to English or German, so for people who do not speak a word
English this could be very useful. The question remains if the list
should set the scope to address people without any English skills.

milan
--
milan guenther * interaction design
||| | | |||| || |||||||| | || | ||

+49 173 285 66 89 * www.guenther.cx

22 Apr 2008 - 6:35pm
Itamar Medeiros
2006

I think it's just a matter of time before we get automated
"spot-on" translations (Futurist Ray Kurzweil, in his book "The
Age of Spiritual Machines" came up with some very interesting
insights on it, check it out:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Age_of_Spiritual_Machines).

In the meantime, this automated translations -- if they are not
"trial-stand" acurate -- are helping brigde the gap between
cultures: I've experience that we've my students at DongHua
University, Shanghai, where they use the translator to get 70%
right... the rest is manually adjusted.

I've recently read an article about an IBM's India Research Lab
project on Real-time communication between multiple languages through
mobile devices" (http://internetvideo.sys-con.com/read/547308.htm).

{ Itamar Medeiros } http://designative.info/

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=28333

23 Apr 2008 - 1:36am
Anonymous

OK, so how can we make the google translations better? The standard
web page translations allow for correction of translations (c.f. this
english to french traduxion: http://tinyurl.com/5gqz3c).

This is good, as you can hover over sentences and correct the
translation quickly and in-place.

Can we make use of this? We have an involved community who care enough
to put the effort in to correct ranslations that, I'm guessing,
improves the google algorithm - even if it is only in IxD-related
vocabulary (although we have enough debates about definitions and
terminology as it is!).

Are we able to tap into the translations via an API and present a
two-column (web) version in english / non-english language of choice?
Dare I ask if we can put that into an *ahem* HTML email?

Ideas, people, ideas! ;)

Alex.

23 Apr 2008 - 1:40am
Anonymous

What about using a tool akin to ephox' editlive application to track
changes in translations?
Again, maybe the google docs API can help us as that has track
changes, doesn't it?

23 Apr 2008 - 3:23am
Pierre Abel
2004

Hello,

As french native speaker, I would say that it is understandable. Of
course, it is far from perfect but one can understand...and laugh a
little bit with funny translations errors...
I tried to do a translation on a more technical thread, and the
translations is more delicate, but still understandable.

From my point of view, the major problems with automatic translations,
is that you need an extra effort to understand what you are reading. You
continuously need to do a second translation for yourself. So it made
it difficult to read a lot of message. For english native speaker,
it's like if someone, who speaks really bad english, tries to explain
you something...you need a lot of concentration!

Pierre

23 Apr 2008 - 2:20am
Jens Meiert
2004

> http://www.ixda.org/digests/digest_german.html

The German translation is quite bad (though Milan is probably right
that you can "understand 30-60% of the sense" anyway), and this
appears to apply to the other translations as well. However, providing
automated translations might be an option when there is a clear,
prominent note that they've been created automatically. A bird in the
hand is worth two in the bush, huh?

--
Jens Meiert
http://meiert.com/en/

23 Apr 2008 - 7:23am
Dave Malouf
2005

I would like to pose a thought here in the guise of a question:
Is it harder to read stuff in English or to write/contribute in
English?

My experience with working a lot of with non-English speakers is that
they can consume English a lot easier than contribute in English?

Are the people who would want to be a part of the community, is
consuming the list (95% of the subscribers are only consumers) or is
it about contribution as well?

I know that Jorge said that ya gotta play in English today to be a
part of the world, but I'm not sure "ethically" I'm all for that.
Also, I don't believe that reality is shared equally around the
world. Due to history, economy and politics and well some other
issues, countries like Korea and Japan for instance do quite well
without interacting in English. Russia less so, but still pretty good
at it.

Now back to the effort here more specifically ...
Jeff, this is amazing how quickly you did this. What a testament to
the tools that people are creating out there to help everyone
communicate.

I think that even at 70-85% accuracy these are probably really useful
from a learning tool perspective. For those people that are only doing
consumption and just want an aid to get them through, it is just
GREAT!

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=28333

22 Apr 2008 - 11:41pm
Simon Thorsander
2008

Hi,

To begin with; I'm impressed that Google Translator supports
translation to Swedish. Unfortunately the outcome isn't as
impressive.

The following "Swedish" sentence:
"du vill se fakta ät en masse IxDA medlemmen ( det vill si den här
vem er
plågattill deklarera deras läge) komma av Europa."

Would translate word by word English:
"You will see fact eat a lot of IxDA members (That will say then
here who are vain to declare there situation) come by Europe"

Keep in mind that English and Swedish are two very different
languages even when it comes to grammar, so the task for Google's
translator API wasn't easy.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=28333

23 Apr 2008 - 10:16am
jarango
2004

On Apr 23, 2008, at 6:23 AM, David Malouf wrote:

> I know that Jorge said that ya gotta play in English today to be a
> part of the world, but I'm not sure "ethically" I'm all for that.

I hope my comments weren't misunderstood -- I didn't mean to imply
that English is the only solution for everyone, everywhere. It makes
all the sense in the world (heh :) ) for local communities to develop
in their local languages. However, global communication is very hard
to do if there isn't a lingua franca with which to communicate between
cultures, and English is it today.

IMO the value of lists like IxDA would be diminished if the
conversation devolved to just represent POVs from the English-speaking
countries, and I'm worried that this is what language-specific lists
would accomplish.

Cheers,

-- Jorge

23 Apr 2008 - 10:59am
Jeff Howard
2004

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

Based off these comments and the comments off-list it seems like the
translations are pretty universally lackluster--except for Swedish,
which holds a special place in terms of incomprehensibility.
Portuguese was the most well-received, but I'm not sure this type of
thing makes sense for only one language.

Google's API is fairly new, so just to be sure I ran translations
from a couple other services (Systran for Spanish and InterTran for
Swedish) and they didn't fare well. Itamar, could you share which
service your students are using?

I designed the digests to make it easier to consume the discussions,
but this actually seems to make it harder. If you need to doublecheck
the conversation in two languages it's not really worth the effort to
read, especially if you have some comprehension of english.

At this point, it seems like the translated digests would only really
be helpful to non-english speakers. I'm not averse to that but I'm
not sure how we would get this in their hands without some major
outreach.

If you know of other good translation services, I'd be interested in
checking them out. I'll keep exploring the possibilities, but I'm
not optimistic.

// jeff

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=28333

23 Apr 2008 - 1:46pm
Laura Lessa
2008

Hello Jeff.

Sorry for the late feedback.

I agree that the translated digests help non-English speakers to understand
the discussions and I am not very optimistic either about the quality of
translation services. IMHO, the Portuguese translation (I am Brazilian) is
quite poor because, similarly to the Spanish one, the sentences'
constructions look inverted, like in the example below:

"most of the big software, digital entertainment and telecommunications
companies"

is translated like "a maoria das grandes software, entretenimento digital e
telecomunicações empresas" and it should be "a maioria das grandes empresas
de software, entretenimento digital e telecomunicações"

I guess that it is a common issue when trying to translate Latin languages
to English - and vice-versa. In English, we commonly use adjectives followed
by substantives ("interaction design"), whereas in Portuguese and Spanish,
we normally have substantives followed by adjectives ("diseño de
interacción"/ "design de interação").

Maybe, if the translation tool could identify substantives and adjectives,
the outcome would be a lot better.

just my 2 cents :-)

cheers,
Laura

On Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 5:59 PM, Jeff Howard <id at howardesign.com> wrote:

> Thanks for the feedback everyone.
>
> Based off these comments and the comments off-list it seems like the
> translations are pretty universally lackluster--except for Swedish,
> which holds a special place in terms of incomprehensibility.
> Portuguese was the most well-received, but I'm not sure this type of
> thing makes sense for only one language.
>
> Google's API is fairly new, so just to be sure I ran translations
> from a couple other services (Systran for Spanish and InterTran for
> Swedish) and they didn't fare well. Itamar, could you share which
> service your students are using?
>
> I designed the digests to make it easier to consume the discussions,
> but this actually seems to make it harder. If you need to doublecheck
> the conversation in two languages it's not really worth the effort to
> read, especially if you have some comprehension of english.
>
> At this point, it seems like the translated digests would only really
> be helpful to non-english speakers. I'm not averse to that but I'm
> not sure how we would get this in their hands without some major
> outreach.
>
> If you know of other good translation services, I'd be interested in
> checking them out. I'll keep exploring the possibilities, but I'm
> not optimistic.
>
> // jeff
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=28333
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

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