Arabic-English translations on the fly – 23/02/2010

Despite all the positive aims of a project called Meedan, as one canny slashdot user noted “What could possibly go wrong?”

It would seem that the concept has created enough of an online noise that the site’s been slashdotted, but wired has a good piece describing it – the site has been going for 10 months and is based on MT with post editing by volunteer editors.

Most interesting though it the wiki-like aspects of the translations:

Meedan takes a different tack, first using Machine Translation technology, and then letting translators fix and refine translations. The status of a translation is always apparent, and learning a lesson from Wikipedia, Meedan makes the history of each translation publicly and quickly available.

The point is to not hide the messiness of translation and keep the reminder that this is a cross-cultural endeavor embedded in the site design.