Google asks Pinoys to translate Web to Filipino, Cebuano
Calling all Filipinos: Help Google translate the Web into your mother tongue.
In celebration of Buwan ng Wika, tech giant Google is encouraging Filipinos to contribute translations of Filipino and Cebuano to its language service, Google Translate, in hopes of making the Internet a more inclusive space for both native and nonnative speakers.
Google’s Love Your Language project is a global campaign aimed at “empowering communities to build high quality translations online for their languages using the Google Translate Community Tool” so local speakers and those who do not know certain languages “can appreciate their language better.”
“In the Philippines, we wanted to empower Filipinos to build a Web that works for them by actively contributing to the representation, accuracy and understanding of our languages online and cultivate the creation of relevant local content,” said Gail Tan, Google Philippines head of communications and public affairs.
Google Philippines, which set up shop in Manila in 2013, enlisted the support of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino to encourage Filipinos to participate in the project, Tan said.
The Love Your Language campaign is aimed at helping the Google Translate machine to come up with better translations of Web content into Filipino and Cebuano, two of the major Philippine languages, with the proper context and nuances.
It followed the launch of the Google Translate Community last year, a crowdsourcing tool that serves as the tech giant’s way of filling gaps in the quality of translations by its machine.
Google Translate is done by a machine and purely machine translated words may get context wrong, noted Tan.
“Around the world we have this issue about the quality of translation online and found that people really wanted to help improve it so their online experience could be better,” said Tan.
Human translations “help better reflect the way people want to use their language on the Web,” she said, adding that “a native speaker of the language will surely know when to use and not use a word.”
“We encourage people who know and love their language to add that human touch and contribute accurate translations to give context to words, so the machine can learn the meanings behind different strings and come up with better translation,” Tan said.
Expanding the Translate service to more accurate translations into widely used Philippine languages would lend to an improved user experience, she said.
“Giving them access to content in a language they do not understand but are translatable to a language they know helps improve their Web experience, and is part and parcel to the fulfillment of our mission to make the world’s information universally accessible and useful to everyone,” Tan said.
Participants may log on to the Google Translate Community Tool (https://translate.google.com/community) and do either or both tasks: translate, which is to “provide translations for words and phrases,” and validate, which is to “identify good translations.”
Filipino, the national language, and Cebuano were chosen for the project because they are two of the most commonly used Philippine languages online, said Tan.
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