Fresh & New(er)

discussion of issues around digital media and museums by Seb Chan

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Multi-lingual machine translation from the footer

October 12th, 2009 by Seb Chan

There’s been a fair bit of chatter about machine translation of late and so when we noticed that the Museum of London team had rolled out the new Google Translate widget on their website we figured we’d give it a try and follow suit.

So lo and behold, now on the Powerhouse Museum main site you can skip to our persistent footer and be presented with a machine translated version of whatever page you are on – menus, titles and all in any of 39 languages from Afrikaans to Yiddish. It is all rather neat and even with the imperfections of the translation the speed and ease of implementation is hard to resist.

English version –

(Traditional) Chinese version –

Tags: 6 Comments

  • Fun! Now I just have to figure out how to read Arabic… – ALI

  • Hi Seb,

    Wondering if the widget works with IE 6.0. Yes, that’s what we’re still using and yes I am embarrassed.

    Cheers
    asa

  • Chris Bell

    The results are better than they used to be but still humorous in places.

  • Bobby

    I like the idea of using tools already available.

    However, at the moment this implementation is quite annoying as the google translate dialog box animates at the top in the browser window on every page. If one closes the dialog box it will persist on each and every page load. I’m using firefox, swedish language.

    By the way. I loved your talk this friday in Stockholm.

  • Seb Chan

    @bobby – yes the closing/reopening is annoying but I guess it does that to remind the user each time that it is translating. I’d expect that this will improve over time.

  • Bobby

    @Seb
    Probably. I like the gutso and vision it takes to use tools like these so early. It’s inspiring and will make the work easier for people like me with real world examples out there. Writing this as I am struggling with budgeting web dev and trying to manage translation costs.