How to Surf the Multilingual Web

Fact: According to an official press release issued yesterday by a Chinese-government-related organization, “1,500 translators and scholars from 76 countries and regions attended the opening ceremony of the eighteenth International Federation of Translators (FIT for “Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs”) World Congress today at the Shanghai International Convention Center. The theme of the congress is translation and cultural diversity.”

Analysis:  Sure, you’re tempted to scoff at these carbon-based units and their old-fashioned “human translation skills”  – because you  like technology so much – but in the realm of language translation, computers are still lagging behind. There’s a long-running debate over the promise of “machine translation” (MT), as a Wikipedia entry argues:

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Tagging in Esperanto

Fact: “Russian search leader Yandex has released their Autumn report on the current state of the blogosphere in Russia [source: Nick Wilsdon, CEO of the e3internet group]… Some of the highlights:

  • There are now 3.1m blogs in Runet [the Russian-language areas of the Internet], 2.6 times larger than this time last year…
  • The blogosphere in Russia represents 3% of the global total…
  • Now there are more Russian language blogs than French, German or Portuguese ones, but less than blogs in Spanish, Italian, Chinese, English or Japanese…
  • About 7000 new blogs appear daily in Runet.”

Analysis: I found the numbers on Russian-language blogging interesting, and not only because I still remember some of my schoolboy Russki. (I’ve forgotten nearly all my Arabic and Maltese.)

Comparing the velocity of blog-growth in Runet (the term used quasi-officially to refer to all of the Russian-language and Russian-geographic areas of the entire Internet) with the growth of all global blogs shows Russian is a mover, but not the biggest one.

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