One of the difficulties in sharing information internationally has been language. Groups from all over the world are following the events in Fukushima. Pertinent documents are in so many different languages. Documents on Chernobyl might be in German. Nuclear information from the US in English. Important documents in Japan in Japanese, also newspaper articles and first person accounts.
Many people throughout the world don’t speak or read a second language, or the right one to decode that important bit of information. Over the last five months we have found some coping mechanisms to help.
This has been very useful while doing research. Google Chrome will automatically translate most web pages into the language your computer uses. When Chrome won’t automatically translate the Google Translate Chrome extension can help force the translator to translate the page.
Google Translate is also quite useful as a stand alone program. It can translate some PDF documents and accepts cut and paste text for translation.
YouTube has an easy to use subtitles feature. When you upload a video you can also upload a text file of the dialogue in your language. YouTube will take that text file and create subtitles in other languages that users can display by using the “CC” closed caption button below the video. YouTube has also added a “Transcribe Audio” feature that can be used to create a transcription. Find out more at YouTube
WordPress has a plugin from Google called the Google Ajax Translator. It is what we use on our site. The best way to find it is to use the WordPress site in your language and search for it in the Plug-ins area.
Sometimes Google’s tools just can’t handle some language oddity. Yahoo’s Babelfish can give a second opinion. Sometimes it handles translations differently giving a different result.
Even with all these tools sometimes a translation can be challenging. Words don’t directly translate, subtle meanings missed or a cultural reference not understood. When it doubt a human translator can be worth their weight in gold.
This article would not be possible without the extensive efforts of the SimplyInfo research team
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