Today Google is announcing the release of Google Translator Toolkit, a new application that extends their well known translation tool, Google Translate.  The Tool kit may change the way Wikipedia grows in other languages (from Google’s announcement today):

At Google, we consider translation a key part of making information universally accessible to everyone around the world. While we think Google Translate, our automatic translation system, is pretty neat, sometimes machine translation could use a human touch. Yesterday, we launched Google Translator Toolkit, a powerful but easy-to-use editor that enables translators to bring that human touch to machine translation.

Google Translator Toolkit allows users to help the system learn adaptively – and it has built-in functionality that will allow rapid translation of pages from Wikipedia.  Readers can correct mistakes, add context, and generally improve the translator’s ability to provide stronger first drafts of translations. This is a tremendous step towards free culture and the expansion of free knowledge on behalf of Google.

Volunteers at Effat University in Saudi Arabia have been working with Google to translate over 100,000 words into from the English Wikipedia into Arabic to help build the Toolkit and pave the way for further translations of Wikipedia content, a strong showcase for the Toolkit (more from Google):

These articles were among most widely searched articles throughout the Middle East, and they were either previously unavailable in Arabic or they were short relative to the English article. We are now reviewing and posting these top articles back to Wikipedia, in order help to make Wikipedia even more useful in Arabic. As Saudi Arabia’s HRH Princess Lolowah Al-Faisal said, Effat worked with Google “to solve the problem of making a huge amount of online information available to Arabic speakers, all over the world.”

You can try out the toolkit here.  Google has also posted a video to provide a quick tutorial. We look forward to seeing even more active translation within Wikipedia and beyond over the coming months.

Jay Walsh, Head of Communications