Next stop: Total Global DominiationExperimenting

Next stop: Total Global Dominiation

Experimenting with a new feature on the site: automatic translation to other languages. With an hour or so of playing around, I seem to have gotten auto-translation working via FreeTranslation.com.

The service is limited to Spanish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, and Portuguese for the moment. I’m bummed about the lack of Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, Arabic, and Farsi, and the translation process is a bit slow, but oh well. It’s free, I can’t (or at least, shouldn’t) complain too much.

For now, I’ve just got the setup working for the front page… I don’t think it works from the archives. I’ll check that out later.

So has anyone else played around with tools like this? Something is telling me I just re-invented the wheel, but I’m not sure I’ve seen translation tools on other blogs. I’ll have to look more closely in my rounds today. Anyway, if you have any suggestions or comments, or information on other tools, please send them my way.

I must admit I find the potential here staggering. The community o’ the blogsphere is a wonderful thing, but to imagine if it were possible to have bloggers planetwide, blogging merrily away in their native languages, and have everyone else be able to read them… damn, makes me want to go re-read my archive issues of Wired from 1993 or something.

Anyway, by all means, if you’re a non-English speaker reading the site, drop me a line, and let me know if the translation is working properly. If your language is one of those I have translation for, you can even do so in your native tongue and I’ll try to auto-translate your email — but in this case, please use as simple language as possible, so we don’t confuse the poor machines at FreeTranslation. I speak American High School Spanish, and am very slowly learning Persian (Farsi), so I’ll have to mostly trust the translation engine, I’m afraid.

Come to think of it, I don’t really have a way of verifying whether the translation of my own tortured prose is truly working. For all I know, when I say:

Let’s establish a dream team of creative types to brainstorm future possible terrorist scenarios.

My Norwegian users might now be getting:

Please help urgently my hovercraft is full of eels.

Ah well, we’ll see, I guess…