Should You Consider Human Translation For Your Blog?

Filed as General on March 14, 2007 11:20 am

Like many other blog owners, we’ve been having severe problems with automated translation tools, particularly Angsuman translator in our case–where either blank pages appear or one gets this message from Google:

We’re sorry…

… but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can’t process your request right now.

We’ll restore your access as quickly as possible, so try again soon. In the meantime, if you suspect that your computer or network has been infected, you might want to run a virus checker or spyware remover to make sure that your systems are free of viruses and other spurious software.

We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope we’ll see you again on Google.

And so we have decided to remove the plugin altogether. For a while, after we first installed it, it worked great and brought in some decent traffic, especially on some of the international news stories. But after the recent WP upgrade, we’ve met with some technical difficulties, and there seems no light at the end of that tunnel, even with several consultations with the plugin author (we can’t seem to figure out what exactly is wrong with our installation/server). At any rate, most foreign language speakers observe machine translated articles as crude and barely readable as genuine translation anyway. They are too literal, and devoid of usable context.

So what’s the alternative? One option that we have explored here at the Blog Herald is human translation and this is something that we will continue to do. Last week, Tony announced the opening of The Blog Herald Japan, as a humanly translated version of Blog Herald. And it has met with remarkable success. It hit the front pages of the three largest news sites in Japan-: at CNet Japan, at Japan.Internet.com and on the online and offline versions of the Nikkei Newspaper. When we launched The Blog Herald Japan, we checked our Alexa stats as far as visitors from Japan was concerned. Our ranking in Japan was 37,972 and Japanese visitors represented less than 2% of all traffic. As of today on Alexa, Blog Herald’s ranking in Japan is 6,832, second only to our ranking in the Philippines and Canada; and represents over 10% of all users, second only to the United States. This, in just over one week.

Obviously, not all blog owners can afford human translation- but for those who can, it seems to be a pretty positive move in expanding one’s readership!

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  1. By robson posted on March 14, 2007 at 12:20 pm
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    They say Google are working hard on this, but for the time being MT (machine translation) is showing great reluctance in keeping instep with Moore’s law.

    Funny stories abound caused by bad MT. My favourite occurred during an EU Parliament debate during which the French representative called for a ‘sagesse Normande’ quickly translated into ‘what we need here is Norman Wisdom’ That’s for those old enough to remember the English comic, Mr Wisdom. Cultural differences not to mention the pure nonsense sometimes found in languages should keep MT at bay for any half serious work, for a good while yet.

  2. By Into Spanish posted on March 14, 2007 at 12:57 pm
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    Congratulations for your human Japanese translations, way to go. Ever considered the Spanish-speaking audience?

  3. By Mark posted on March 14, 2007 at 1:36 pm
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    Norman Wisdom- absolutely classic! Spanish is definitely one of the next ones coming.

  4. By deucle posted on March 14, 2007 at 2:05 pm
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    it is an interesting site, I will go back there

  5. By Ravi posted on March 14, 2007 at 5:28 pm
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    403 errors are being reported elsewhere too. But I think the new version of the Angsuman plugin they point to may fix this issue. I tried caching, but that is not helping anymore. Maybe too many users are using these plugins.

  6. By Mark posted on March 20, 2007 at 8:45 am
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    Just an update on these BH Japan stats. In less than a week since this post, Alexa is now showing 15% of BH users are from Japan, with BH having a position of 5,273 in Japan and that 5% of BH users go to http://jp.blogherald.com, up from 3%. I thought this noteworthy for any other blog owner thinking of doing the same thing, as one might have put the initial momentum down to it just being something “new” in Japanese blogosphere.

  7. Human Translators Superior to Automatic Blog TranslationsMarch 25, 2007 at 1:56 am
  8. 901am Japan Launched : The Blog HeraldJune 9, 2007 at 3:03 am
  9. MOST MOST » Blog Archive » Human Translators Superior to Automatic Blog TranslationsJanuary 16, 2008 at 12:55 am