Google Translates Russia as “Mordor”

Google Translate is an extremely useful albeit slightly confusing tool at times, the freedom to translate any foreign web page or language with a degree of accuracy has been widely used by a huge array of consumers and companies alike.  However, there are instances when Google translates something completely different as in this case whereby the Russian Federation had been accidentally translated as “Mordor”

Reports confirm that Google has patched a bug within the “translation from Ukrainian to Russian service”.  Below is a screenshot to illustrate this rather awkward yet slightly apt re-imagining of the translation, the company stated this error was introduced automatically and, therefore, did not come from user input.

The search giant also stated that its software was able to operate by analyzing patterns within hundreds of millions of documents, this sounds impressive but the translations are not always perfect when you consider both the complexity and also the context of language which can vary depending on the circumstances.

It is interesting to note that “Mordor” is defined as a “fictional universe of Middle-earth and was the region occupied and controlled by Sauron,” when you consider the fairly recent activity by Russia in Crimea, it makes the translation all the more relevant.

Image courtesy of  the dailymail

BBC to Offer Machine Translated TV News in Japanese and Russian

The BBC have announced a pilot run of its “Virtual Voiceover” technology, which will be used to automatically translate TV news reports into other languages. Initially, the service already offers translations in Japanese, with the BBC’s Russian service planning to implement the technology in early 2016. The objective of the virtual voiceover system is to allow news editors to easily and automatically publish news in a variety of languages with a minimal amount of staff and effort required.

The system is simple in theory, it will be fed the script for a news package and use a machine translation to convert the script into the target language. The translated script will then be checked over and polished if necessary by a bilingual journalist. Finally, a voiceover will be recorded using one of a number of synthesized voices available. According to a statement made to Ars Technica by the BBC, the machine translator currently used for the system is Google Translate but “it could just as easily be another translation engine and we’re likely to work with others as the project progress.”

Initially, the pilot testing of the service will run until April 2016, in both Japanese and Russian. Spanish is another language that the broadcaster has identified as useful for the system, and if it is initially successful, could be added to the service. The news packets that make use of these translations will be made available on the BBC’s new Today In Video service and can be accessed through the relevant BBC local website.

While the idea has been criticised due to the idea that it could take jobs from humans, an anonymous source at the BBC stated, “the intention was instead to free up reporters to do more journalism rather than administrative tasks.”

As we drift ever further into the digital in our media intake, could the shift from news read by humans to synthetics take off? Maybe one day all news scripts will be read by synthetic voices, even in their native language. For a taste of that, the BBC made use of their synthetic voice technology in a demonstration video of the technology, revealing the Virtual Voice new service.

Google Could Soon Have a “Live Translation” Service

After acquiring Quest Visual, a real-time translation application developer who made Word Lens, Google could use them to good effect.

The company is rumoured to be working on a new “Live Translation” mode, which would give some serious super powers to its already impressive Translate app. The first Live Translate application will reportedly work both ways in a few languages at first: English and French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, reports Android Police.

It gets better: there will reportedly be a very cool conversation mode, which will allow you to talk to someone in another language. Someone could be speaking Spanish to you for example, with the new Live Translate application translating the other person’s language, on the fly. Cool? YES. The updated Google Translate app would listen for both languages that are activated, and would automatically translate whatever version of the language isn’t your native one, into your native language.
Google hasn’t said when this will be available, but we should expect it to be found in the next iteration of Google Translate.

Source: Android Police.

Android Developers To Get Access To App Translation Services

The App Translation Services previewed in May at the Google I/O event has been made available to all developers. What the service does is allow developers to build applications in various languages without the need of a person to translate all texts inside the app.

Android Developers Blog tells us that the App Translation Services can be purchased through Google Play Developer Console and can aid developers in quickly translating all text strings inside the application to the desired language of choice.

Apparently there are some good news and usage increase in apps that used the above mentioned toolbox in the past. RV AppStudios used the tool and added 20 supported languages to its Zombie Ragdoll title, which added to 80% of installs being made in non-English countries.

Another example is the dating application SayHI Chat that saw an increase of 120% of install growth after it expanded to support 13 additional languages using the App Translation Services tool. Even the G4A Indian Rummy application saw a 300% increase with user engagement in localized apps.

It looks like expanding your application to support more and more various languages does have a big impact in app usage and should be taken into consideration for future development of applications.

Thank you Android Developers Blog for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Droid Matters