Rewiring the World of Translation
At SpeakLike, we’re huge fans of TED talks and are especially inspired by Ethan Zuckerman’s recent presentation at TED Global. Ethan makes a compelling argument that the internet is incredibly segmented by culture and language. Ethan also makes clear that there needs to be a better way to organize and facilitate on-demand human translation. Since 2008, SpeakLike has been building a community of thousands of qualified native speakers from around the world (with hundreds joining weekly). SpeakLike merges human capacity with it’s advanced crowdsourcing platform, facilitating on-demand translation into 37 languages. At SpeakLike, we consider ourselves a sort of human translation curator, empowering native speakers to translate all content fit for print. Our ultimate goal is to facilitate communication in any language.
Some interesting points in the presentation:
- The top four represented countries on Twitter are US, Japan, Brazil, and India.
- Chinese is the most represented language on the internet (over 400 million users).
- Parts of the world are systematically disconnected (compelling visualization of flight paths).
- Imaginary cosmopolitanism: The web connects the globe, but most of us end up hearing mainly from people just like ourselves. To that end, online media is not necessarily helping diversify content bias (ex. most Wikipedia articles are geo-tagged in US).
- Global Voices - An international community of bloggers who report on blogs and citizen media from around the world.
- Machine translation (ex. Google Translate) is good but not good enough. There needs to be a way to organize and facilitate human translation on a cue.