Folks over at Microsoft Research have been thinking about ways to improve content translation between instances of Wikipedia.  For example, today the largest collection of articles is at English Wikipedia (more than 3,000,000).  Compare that number with the collection at Hindi Wikipedia (which as of July 31 of this year had 55716).  One proven way to increase the articles in Hindi is machine translation, but such translations still need human review and often subtle editing to make them elegantly readable.

Enter WikiBhasha, formerly known as WikiBABEL, which launches today as both a MediaWiki extension project and a bookmarklet.  WikiBhasha takes content from a targeted Wikipedia page and displays a machine translation to a second language side-by-side.  Users can edit, add to or delete the translated content, preview their work and then submit it to the second language Wikipedia.

What’s especially interesting to me about this project is the fact that its author, researcher A. Kumaran, has tirelessly persuaded Microsoft to allow him to open source the client.  The code has been checked into the MediaWiki code tree under the Apache License 2.0, which means that the powerful side-by-side editing tools developed by Mr. Kumaran can potentially be used in other MediaWiki projects.  I’m very pleased to see Microsoft take this step, and I hope you will join me in welcoming WikiBhasha.

Danese Cooper, Chief Technical Officer