BBC's experiment with machine translation succeeds "for the most part" (updated).

Posted: 03 Apr 2010   Print   Send a link
"By using a specially created website, users from around the world could post and reply to each other's messages, even if they did not share the same language. The experiment was part of the BBC's SuperPower season, a series of programmes, online reports and events designed to examine the extraordinary power of the internet. ... Could a machine really break down language barriers? For the most part, Yes it could. Soon after the experiment kicked off, many users began to express their delight, and surprise, at being able to converse easily using the technology. 'I believe this can work!' wrote Nathana in Brazil." Dave Lee, BBC World Service, 18 March 2010.
     "Other events included live music and a reading of scenes from William Shakespeare’s play 'Romeo and Juliet' in multiple languages." Julie Millins, Reuters, 19 March 2010.
     Update: "Now the BBC reports on how it did: it received 11,711 messages, from 2,078 locations around the world. English, unsurprisingly, still led as the dominant language, with 5626 messages, followed by 2767 in Spanish and 1781 in Portug[u]ese. Less popular were Arabic (208); Persian (146); Chinese (simplified) (126) and Indonesian: (31). BBC World reporter Dave Lee, says that the event was 'perhaps the toughest scrutiny' of Google’s translation software to date." Judith Townend, journalism.co.uk, 30 March 2010. Actually, this just reports on the BBC item from 18 March cited above. But it's a good excuse to note the interesting distribution of languages. See also the other links. See previous post about same subject.