Posts Tagged ‘translation’

Guerrilla Translation Interview for Ouishare Fest 2014

April 29, 2014
Guerrilla Translation

Guerrilla Translation

Please go to the Ouishare voting area and support us there. NOTE – all you need to do is enter your email address and a “capcha” code – there’s no weird registration process (so it’s easy and non-creepy). And, if you’re among the community of people who plan to be at Ouishare Fest in Paris, you’ll see us there.

Guerrilla Translation is proud to be among the nominees for the 2014 Ouishare Awards. If you’re not already familiar, Ouishare is an organization that, in their own words, “is a think and do-tank with the mission to empower citizens, public institutions and companies to create a collaborative economy: an economy based on sharing, collaboration and openness, relying on horizontal networks and communities.” The following short interview was originally published on the Ouishare Fest 2014 Blog, and we hope it helps explain more about our project and long-term vision.

What got you started with your initiative?

We all belong to at least one community. The intersections between our communities make the world seem a little smaller every day. But the lack of a shared language is still a major barrier between people and communities who would otherwise share ideas and collaborate on common solutions to widespread problems.

Guerrilla Translation was born of a love of sharing. The world of information has changed with the Internet – we share access to a tremendous and ever-increasing information stream. And everything else seems to be changing rapidly, too – in our economies, food and energy industries, and political systems, just to name a few. In order to be an active part of these changes, we have to operate in community.

Guerrilla Translation is building bridges between cultures, starting with Spanish and English. We select written and video pieces with a focus on constructive change and long-range analysis, translate them, and share them. We’re connecting authors with new audiences, and people with new ideas, shared through technology but created in a very personal, artisanal way. We feel strongly that translation is best handled not by software, but instead, by committed and passionate translators working together to achieve the highest level of professional quality in our work.

What are your hopes for the rest of 2014?

For the rest of 2014, we’re committed to growing our model through team building, and plan to expand our services and form a cooperative. We work closely with the P2P Foundation and will continue our efforts with them in developing an innovative publishing model within the commons-oriented sphere. Our own webpage is also about to undergo major changes in design, including a more reader-friendly interface making the material in each language easier to find.

Finally, we’re very proud to be included in the Ouishare competition among friends and associates from our own communities, and feel that if we all stand to benefit from the opportunity to share what we’re doing, and learn from each other, we all win.

Originally published on the Ouishare Fest 2014 Blog, reposted Guerrilla Translation.

Irritating unreadable characters

January 9, 2012

We have all experienced them, those irritating unreadable characters that we can barely see, let alone read.

A problem I met last night, though that was only part of the aggrevation of trying to buy tickets on-line from the British Museum, the main problem was an incredibly badly designed user-unfriendly website. A friend had tried the previous night to buy tickets and eventually gave up.

On-line tickets for British Museum exhibition

A computer selects characters, presents them to us in an image which we then have to type in, if there is a match, we are ok. In theory, these images are difficult for a computer to read, but as pattern recognition gets better, the task for us mere humans gets harder and harder as the characters embedded in the images become more and more difficult to read.

The task takes on average ten seconds. Only a few seconds if you can read the first image shown, but as you keep cycling through the images to find one that can be read, the time taken gets progressively longer.

Can this time be put to productive use and if nothing else, partly offset our frustration?

The answer is yes.

You will have noticed now we get two words.

Many books are being scanned, digitised. The older the book, the more difficult the task with an error rate running at 30%.

Humans do better, but very costly, even if outsourced to sweat shops.

Why not use those ten seconds whilst we are trying to determine the illegible characters?

We now are displayed two words. One is as before, a computer generated word, the second one of the digitised words from a scanned book or document. If we get the computer generated word correct, and we cannot get further if we get it wrong, means there is a high probability we got the scanned word correct. But the final word is not taken from one person, several people will have ‘voted’ on the word.

Can this crowd sourcing be used in other areas?

Yes, a project called duolingo has been set up on the net for language translation.

If people were paid, even in offshore sweatshops, it would be very expensive. Why not get people to do it whilst they are learning a language?

Why would anyone do it for free?

They already do it in other areas, freely give up their time to benefit others, Open Source Source Software, this blog …

But they are not doing it for free. They are doing it whilst learning a language for free.

As with digitised words, a ‘vote’ over many translators.