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Translation tools bring back the human element
Sunday, 29th April 2012
Two new translation services concentrating on quality are announced. Worldcrunch extends its English service to leading French and German newspapers and also international sources. Another new service, Ackuna, lets users submit text to a community of translators covering 15 languages.
I learnt about two translation services today, which to my mind look like useful tools for business researchers. The major paid-for online news services like Factiva and Nexis have an excellent archive of translated articles, with Factiva offering instant translation of news. However, there is usually a delay in uploading translated articles to these services and, of course, you have to pay for access.
At the end of last year Paris-based Worldcrunch was established to provide journalists with English translations of breaking global news stories, chosen and edited by Worldcrunch staff. To date, it has signed partnerships with 19 publishers or news agencies, covering the leading French and German newspapers but also international sources such as the China Economic Observer, Turkey’s Komersant and Syfia International, an association of six African press agencies.
Now the Editors Weblog has alerted us to an extension of Worldcrunch’s offering to be launched in May, called Crunch It, taking its curating efforts a step further. Crunch It will allow users to nominate an article or post for translation.
Since this is a platform for journalists, Worldcrunch’s owners are concentrating on quality and will make sure that only quality content is translated. Crowdsourcing may play a part later on, when readers are asked to submit their own translations of content.
Curation may ensure that only quality content is translated, and may be preferable to crowdsourcing, but crowdsourced translation is at least a step up from machine-based translation services. Babelfish and Google Translate have their uses and I particularly like the way Google can translate complete foreign-language websites. However, automated services can get it spectacularly wrong and how many times have we ended up with gobbledegook?
Mashable reported this week on a new, human translation service called Ackuna, which lets users submit text to a community of translators. A peer-review process makes sure that quality is guaranteed and users of the service are encouraged to give back by offering to translate content for others.
So far, the service has signed up translators with knowledge of 15 languages and Ackuna’s backers, Translation Service USA, are hoping to expand to include any number of languages. The downside to this service for researchers with deadlines, is of course that the service is not instant.
For further information on translation tools, read a LiveWire article by Anne Jordan here.
By Penny Crossland
Penny Crossland is the owner of CH Business Research, a consultancy specialising in investigative research and market intelligence. Penny conducts research projects for clients from a variety of industry sectors, including financial services, management and security consultancy, FMCG, publishing and retail. Fluent in German, she also translates academic papers and corporate material.
Before establishing her business in 2001, Penny was Research Manager at OC&C Strategy Consultants in London. Penny graduated from Bristol University with a degree in German and Politics and has a Masters degree from London University in contemporary German Literature. She became interested in all aspects of business information through working for an industrial market research company in New York.
Penny can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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