There are now a lot of machine learning based translation systems that could be used.

  • Stack Overflow translations all questions and answers.
  • Native speakers can edit translations
  • The edited translations are fed back into the learning set for the translation engine.

One problem will be stopping non-English speakers from editing the meaning of an item when the system thinks they are editing the translations.

(I think this will need external funding.)

Ok, I was assuming that most people will be up-to-date on the research on machine translation.

The modem machine transitions systems work very well provided they have a large “learning set” that contains documents that have been translated by hand that have very similar language usage to what they are translating.

Microsoft research has got very good results with them for translating knowage base articles from English to Spanish. The most read articles are translated by hand and used as the learning set.

Given that Stackoverflow has proved what results can be got by harvesting the power of the users to build a question and answer site, it is not unreasonable to think that the power of a user based could be harvested to build up a training document set that colligates well with the questions and answers on Stackoverflow.

(The tabs may even help a transitions systems to know the context of the text)

  • Something like this? meta.stackexchange.com/questions/39209/… – juan Mar 17 '10 at 15:02
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    Did people even look at that question before voting to close? – balpha Mar 17 '10 at 15:10
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    @balpha, did you look at this question? They are kinda at the same level – juan Mar 17 '10 at 15:12
  • Joel is on board for having other SO sites for non-English launguages. Appears to be something they're researching with their VC partners. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/42373/… – squillman Mar 17 '10 at 15:12
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    -1 because automatic translation works really bad, and even if you are determined to use it you just have to go to translate.google.com – perbert Mar 17 '10 at 15:12
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    @Downvoter: This one is serious (seems to me, at least). The other one was a friday question about translating to baby speek and Klingon. – balpha Mar 17 '10 at 15:21
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    How can asking to develop an automatic translation system, that feeds input from users in order to better itself, be serious? – juan Mar 17 '10 at 15:40
  • @balpha: Maybe the one which is linked now is not a serious one, but this topic has been {seriously} discussed before, more than once! meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1506/…, meta.stackexchange.com/questions/40292/…, meta.stackexchange.com/questions/32776/… – fretje Mar 17 '10 at 15:49
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    @Downvoter: Considering that Google already does this, it doesn't appear too ridiculous. I'm not saying I agree with the feature request (I don't, in fact); I'm just saying it's legitimate. – balpha Mar 17 '10 at 15:50
  • @fretje: None of these talk about automatic translation. – balpha Mar 17 '10 at 15:53
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    @balpha, I think Google has a little more resources than SO LLC – juan Mar 17 '10 at 15:56
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    @balpha: No indeed, they talk about localization and internationalization of which automatic translation is a part IMO. Non-automatic translation is kind of supported now, by the system (not by the community). You could translate every post by hand, by editing it, so from the moment someone talks about localization or internationalization or translation tout-court, there has to be something "automatic" to it. – fretje Mar 17 '10 at 15:56
  • @Downvoter: I am very aware of that, and we're not debating whether this idea is technically feasible nor whether it would be a good thing to implement. My answer to both is "No," and I think I agree with you there. I'm solely stating that this is a legitimate request, and not a dupe of your asking for a baby-speak translator for your son. Did I mention that I started writing a greasmonkey script for that? Never finished, though :) – balpha Mar 17 '10 at 16:17
  • @balpha, please do and post it here, it'd be very useful! – juan Mar 17 '10 at 16:21
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    To the edit: What does "similar style" mean in this context. Treating stack overflow posts (questions and answers) as literary works, I'd describe them as coming in a wide variety of styles. But if the driving factor is subject and vocabulary they might still have "similar style". – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Mar 17 '10 at 17:43

They just finished implementing this. You just have to install the Google toolbar and press the "Translate" button.

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    That does not provide a feedback system to allow “hand translators” to improve the translations. – Ian Ringrose Mar 17 '10 at 16:05
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    @Ian Ringrose: Actually it does (at least using translate.google.com does supply you with a "suggest a better translation" link). Doesn't work on SO though, because of the no-framing check. – balpha Mar 17 '10 at 16:28
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    @JohnFx translate.google.com does not let users get SO rep for providing a better translation. – Ian Ringrose Mar 17 '10 at 16:52

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