Google Translate has been around for many years now, but progress in language translation, although steady, is slow. Are we ever going to have a tool that perfectly translates information? I doubt it. That is because, often, the context is lacking, and the language itself is evolving. The context here does not necessarily refer to what the article is about, but the wider context, the world situation, the state of things. Human translators might play an important role in proofreading even in the far future, until real artificial intelligence is craeted.
Information flow is increasingly important. News providers race with each other to deliver regularly the best (read “most-wanted-to-be-read”) content. Then there are services that go one step further – aggregators that group news together and create entire communities around that. But how about taking it one step further? We could create an international news platform which would have news in all languages, along with the translation in your own language. This already is happening, indirectly – news providers read news from other newspapers and in other languages and based on that write new content. But we could do better.
Imagine a platform that allows bilingual readers to read news and proofread the translation at the same time. Let’s assume that there is some kind of community credit and acknowledgement which they are happy to receive. Once they finish the article they put a stamp on it – the translation conveys the original message. Then, news readers across the world get a variety of news from all over the world, with community driven translations that have been publicly verified.
However, translating an article is not just about the content. There is also the context and other relevant background information that the user might need in order to understand the message. For this, surprisingly, there is no any interactive news reading service where this background information can be easily queried. If, somehow, the community could attach pieces of information in some sensible structured way – reading news would become easier for fresh reader. This might be happening organically – through the comments, where discussions and all kind of exchanges can take place.