Translate me

It is well known that Google Translate uses a statistical machine translation method, based on the occurrence of words in a corpus of training documents gathered from the United Nations and the European Parliament. These source documents exist in various languages and are professionally translated, making it possible to generate a table of likely correspondences between words and phrases in different languages. There’s obviously much more to it, and wikipedia has a good explanation of the method, including its shortcomings.

At risk of breaking the Internet, I’ve managed to install a Google Translate link into the main menu of this blog site. It translates the entire blog site starting from the home page. Actually, Google Translate shows a kind of language frame in the user’s browser and anything in that frame gets translated, including anything the content links to.

The translate option I’ve installed for this website is a fudge to avoid paying the WordPress plugin fee. To get back to English or move to another language you have to jump out of the language frame and return to the original URL by hitting the back button in the browser. Alternatively, you use the menu in the Google Translate frame to change languages.

To start translating at this page follow these links.

I’ll be in Finland, Estonia and somewhere near the Russian border next week, so some phrases may come in handy.

  • Is this the Russian border?
  • Can I come in?
  • Is this Helsinki airport?
  • When does POTUS leave the city?
  • How does the United Kingdom get back into the European Union?
  • Where is the nearest building by Alvar Aalto?
  • Is there a lake near here?
  • Do you have wifi?
  • Do you take bitcoin?

Here’s something in Russian.


About Richard Coyne

The cultural, social and spatial implications of computers and pervasive digital media spark my interest ... enjoy architecture, writing, designing, philosophy, coding and media mashups.


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