Duolingo to translate Web for free
Thread poster: Silvia D'Amico

Silvia D'Amico  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:58
English to Italian
Dec 7, 2011

Hey all,

I was on TED this morning and saw the video below, which explains how they are planning on translating the whole Web in most languages for free, using people who are learning a language for free. I thought it was interesting even though I'm not sure if or how well it will work. The guy speaking seemed pretty confident, as a translator I am skeptical. I am looking forward to your opinions!

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Hey all,

I was on TED this morning and saw the video below, which explains how they are planning on translating the whole Web in most languages for free, using people who are learning a language for free. I thought it was interesting even though I'm not sure if or how well it will work. The guy speaking seemed pretty confident, as a translator I am skeptical. I am looking forward to your opinions!

http://www.ted.com/talks/luis_von_ahn_massive_scale_online_collaboration.html?utm_source=newsletter_weekly_2011-12-07&utm_campaign=newsletter_weekly&utm_medium=email

Silvia
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Linda Karssies  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:58
Member (2010)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Duolingo an interesting concept Dec 9, 2011

Hi, I saw the video too and was fascinated. A lot would depend on the programming. I can imagine that the approach will work for a large part of a language. It is however hard to imagine the subtleties in a language being expressed by language learners. I'm very interested in how it this will pan out in the future.

 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 16:58
English to Czech
+ ...
More opinions... Dec 9, 2011

...on this can be found here.
Just for info...


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 23:58
Chinese to English
I'm scared Dec 9, 2011

This kind of thing worries me much more than Google Translate!

If this takes off, and is proven by successful translation of web resources, then it could become a problem for us!

There are a few comments to make: 1) Translation isn't all about sentences. They're going to miss higher-level text dynamics, and that will be more of a problem than people realise. Terminological consistency plays a very significant role in creating cohesion in a text, and they won't be able t
... See more
This kind of thing worries me much more than Google Translate!

If this takes off, and is proven by successful translation of web resources, then it could become a problem for us!

There are a few comments to make: 1) Translation isn't all about sentences. They're going to miss higher-level text dynamics, and that will be more of a problem than people realise. Terminological consistency plays a very significant role in creating cohesion in a text, and they won't be able to guarantee consistency on the model shown here. Of course, they may have ways around that.

2) There will be privacy issues.

3) It might just shoot itself in the foot - if the web becomes available in every language, why learn a foreign language at all!

I do love crowd-sourcing, though. If they manage to do it, and it turns into a workable document translation technique, then we could be in trouble.
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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:58
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Also see... Dec 9, 2011

the earlier post in another forum.

http://www.proz.com/forum/teaching_and_learning_languages/213722-duolingo.html

This is very scary to "learn" that just anybody can claim to be a translator.
I'm not quite convinced that the translation provided by a "learner" is genuine....
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the earlier post in another forum.

http://www.proz.com/forum/teaching_and_learning_languages/213722-duolingo.html

This is very scary to "learn" that just anybody can claim to be a translator.
I'm not quite convinced that the translation provided by a "learner" is genuine.
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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:58
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Have web access, can translate Dec 9, 2011

Thayenga wrote:

This is very scary to "learn" that just anybody can claim to be a translator.


Not just anybody, anybody who knows two languages. Oh no, wait, anybody who is learning a language.


 

Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:58
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
I am not afraid Dec 10, 2011

Thayenga wrote:

the earlier post in another forum.

http://www.proz.com/forum/teaching_and_learning_languages/213722-duolingo.html

This is very scary to "learn" that just anybody can claim to be a translator.
I'm not quite convinced that the translation provided by a "learner" is genuine.


It doesn't scare me at all. I know what machines can do and I see the weaknesses of the Duolingo concept.

When I was at university people from the employment agency told us that it didn't make any sense to continue my studies. Computers would soon take over our jobs. That was more than 25 years ago. Human translators are still needed. Computers made my job easier: Word with it's spelling/grammar check, CAT tools that remember what I did before.

I am not afraid... Humans will still be needed. And we will make use of new and sophisticated tools to help us translate our texts.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:58
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Enough, thank you! Dec 11, 2011

Honestly I had never been to TED.com, but when I went there to watch the suggested video and saw that among the initial flying images (gosh!) at the start of the video they depicted Al Gore... Enough! I could not keep watching.

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:58
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not our market! Dec 11, 2011

Phil Hand wrote:
If this takes off, and is proven by successful translation of web resources, then it could become a problem for us!

Please Phil. Don't be scared at all! Translating websites is clearly not the main market for a professional translator.

Professional translators will always be needed. Or has the global spreading of gardening and home growing knowledge meant that there are no gardeners or farmers? In fact there are more gardeners than ever... because there are more gardens and more people who need professional results! Same with us: more companies that go abroad and need professional translations.

I remember a poem by Spanish nun and saint Teresa de Jesús (16th century), first female Doctor of the Catholic Church:

"Nada te turbe,
Nada te espante,
Todo se pasa,
Dios no se muda."

Which could be freely translated (God and Saint Teresa please forgive me):

"Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things go away,
God does not transmute."

So do not worry, do every job diligently and in peace, learn, think, and you will live a perfectly happy life as a translator.


 

Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:58
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
Sooo Dec 11, 2011

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Honestly I had never been to TED.com, but when I went there to watch the suggested video and saw that among the initial flying images (gosh!) at the start of the video they depicted Al Gore... Enough! I could not keep watching.



So you let Al Gore decide for you what is worth watching?


 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:58
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TED is great Dec 12, 2011

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Honestly I had never been to TED.com, but when I went there to watch the suggested video and saw that among the initial flying images (gosh!) at the start of the video they depicted Al Gore... Enough! I could not keep watching.


Tomás I usually enjoy your comments and quite often agree with them, in fact I agree with everything you say in your second post, however you let one person (Al Gore) deprive you from enjoying some great videos.

I have the TED app on my iPad and it's one of the few apps I check everyday. TED has some great videos in it, you have all sorts of people (famous people, academicians, artists, scientists, chefs, psychologists, doctors, architects, engineers, etc., etc.) usually the top-notch people in their fields and every week you get new videos uploaded. These are all short talks anywhere from a couple of minutes to 30 minutes (usually between 15 to 20 minutes long) on all sorts of topics, you should give it a try.

There are some fascinating things, from the:
"amusing but useful" (I actually do this now and it works and the video only takes 3:00 minutes)
http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/terry_moore_how_to_tie_your_shoes.html

to the "Hey one thing we Spanish (I'm from Spain like you I believe) can actually really be proud of and this chef is quite a good speaker"
blog.ted.com/2010/03/10/how_i_fell_in_l/
(Sorry can't get this link to show up as a url, maybe because it doesn't start with http:)

to the "I hope they get this done soon enough, before it's too late for me"
http://www.ted.com/talks/cynthia_kenyon_experiments_that_hint_of_longer_lives.html

(The text in quotes and bold are my opinions you might not agree).


 

Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:58
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Why don't you try it on your talk, sir? Dec 12, 2011

It is usually a sobering experience for translators to have their writing translated, and I think it would be particularly sobering for Luis von Ahn to see what comes out.
Subtitling on TED has been long criticized, but even that would be light years ahead of what LvA would get using his method. Or perhaps he would see that after 1 year of class only 30% of the sentences in his talk (the eas
... See more
It is usually a sobering experience for translators to have their writing translated, and I think it would be particularly sobering for Luis von Ahn to see what comes out.
Subtitling on TED has been long criticized, but even that would be light years ahead of what LvA would get using his method. Or perhaps he would see that after 1 year of class only 30% of the sentences in his talk (the easiest ones) are translated, some with acceptable quality, others not. Award-winning scheme for making important information available, right?

Mr. LvA would quickly conclude that either his talk is not worthy of being translated into several languages, or if it is he would choose a different way to do it. Which just cancels the validity of his arguments.

Attila
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