Jun 28 2005

Ky. Secretary of State Web Site Now Multilingual

Published by at June 28, 2005 6:45 am under Web Globalization,CAT/MT,Localization,Translation

The Web site for the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office now offers translations into six new languages. The new service makes the office one of the first multilingual Web sites in Kentucky state government.

The site is translated through an automated and computerized process and occurs dynamically, allowing the site to be translated immediately after it is updated in English. The site will now be accessible in Spanish, French, Japanese, German, Italian and traditional Chinese.

Forms for the office will not be translated as state laws require “the document shall be in the English language.” All visitors to the site whose computers are programmed with the appropriate characters will have access to the translations.

Nearly 2 percent of the 1.8 million yearly visitors to the the secretary of state’s Web site come from foreign countries. The languages chosen primarily reflect the demand for the languages as determined by constituents’ requests or the international visitors that most frequently visited the site.

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To understand why this doesn’t work, pick a string of text (any string of text,) go to http://www.babelfish.altavista.com, enter your string of text, pick a language (any language) to translate it into, take the resulting translation and use the same system to back translate it into English and see what you get.

Two sayings come to mind: On the one hand: “something is better than nothing.” On the other hand: “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”

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  1. […] difficulty of the technical problems involved. Read more As opposed to my last entry (Ky. Secretary of State Web Site Now Multilingual,) this is a more realistic look at machine transl […]