Google Launches Volunteer Effort to Translate Health Info
Google has launched pilot community-based translation programs in Arabic, Swahili, and Hindi as part of its new Health Speaks project. The initiative is an effort to encourage crowd-sourced translation of health information with the aid of the Google Translator Toolkit. For the first phase of the project, hundreds of English-language health articles from Wikipedia were selected for translation by a Health Speaks team. In the second stage, bilingual volunteers will use the Google Translator Toolkit to collaborate on the translation and localization of the Wikipedia articles. In the final stage, the volunteers will review and publish the translations on Wikipedia. As an incentive to keep the project going, Google is donating 3 cents (U.S.) to local charities for each English word translated by the volunteers. The offer is good for the first 60 days and up to $50,000 for each charity. Wael Ghonim, Google’s product and marketing manager for the Middle East and North Africa, says "We thought of health because [it] is one of those very sensitive topics that require structured content that is professional, high quality, [and] trustworthy, which people with medical backgrounds have checked." Ghonim notes that while the use of the Internet is increasing throughout the Arab world, the amount of content available in Arabic is far less than in most mainstream languages. He says, for example, that six to seven times more German content exists online than Arabic, despite the fact that there are 350 million Arabic speakers and only 27 million German speakers. Google will use the Health Speaks initiative to evaluate the effectiveness of crowd-sourced translation in healthcare. Ghonim says that the company expects to expand the project and branch out into other content areas, if the pilot program is successful.
From "Google's Volunteer-Based Initiative to Boost Translation of Health Info"
Daily News Egypt (Egypt) (09/27/10) Ramadan, Amr
Source: ATA Newsbriefs - September 2010