Lost in Translation


The unseen world underneath our searches on the internet, got me thinking about what else might be hidden from me in the web.


Whilst its compelling to imagine the web as an open, free land where all routes are open to us. The reality is that the thoughts, information and possible connections to others are being lost in translation.

Gosto, brasileiros gostam de blogar

My assumptions about the ease at which the web has opened doors into other cultures and people, was missing one obvious and pretty huge barrier still. Language.

한국의 싸이 월드 규칙

In recent years, machine translation spearheaded most notably by Google has been making progress in leaps and bounds. With the head of Google’s machine translation team boldly proclaiming,

“This technology can make the language barrier go away… It will allow anyone to communicate with anyone else.”

Well, it better do it quick.

The fastest-growing languages online, were Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish and French, in that order according to Nicholas Ostler, in his 2010 book The Last Lingua Franca. In 2012, an enterprise translation management company, Smartling created a multilingual infographic. It showed 90% of web users lived in non-English speaking countries.

Lo que se dice por los 13 millones de usuarios de Tuenti, facebook de España?

क्या एक ज्यादातर मोबाइल फोन में इंटरनेट आधारित भविष्य में भारतीय उपयोगकर्ताओं के लिए की तरह दिखता है?

Auf Twitter, Deutschen bevorzugen den Austausch von Informationen und Nachrichten, während die indonesische mehr direkt eingreifen Anhänger.

Apa itu tentang budaya Jerman dan Indonesia yang membedakan penggunaan Twitter?

Via technology and efforts by Netizens like Luis Von Ahn, who is bringing together language students to crowd-translate the web. I hope these questions will one day be easier to answer by combining our collective efforts and thoughts without being lost in translation.

Removing the boundaries of language is one step needed to fulfill the web’s potential as a single global culture.

Note: I apologise to anyone and everyone who’s language I might have unwittingly bastardised using Google translate on the above. If you are able to improve any of the translations please let me know in the comments and head over to Google site where all corrections will contribute towards improving the tool. All for the good. Languages used in order Chinese, Portuguese, Korean, Spanish, Hindi, German and Indonesian.

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