There are no letters for this article. To post your own letter, click Post Letter.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Kontrib (http://www.kontrib.com)?
Kontrib is a new multilingual social bookmarking website that allows users to submit, vote, and comment on user generated stories. Kontrib adds a new twist to the social bookmarking marketplace by introducing automated/machine translation into other languages for the stories.
2. What languages does Kontrib support?
Content is automatically translated into several different languages including English, Arabic, French, and Spanish. Additional languages will be supported over time.
3. What language translation engine does Kontrib use? Whose automated software?
Kontrib uses Language Weaver’s automated language translation software, which is based on a statistical methodology.
4. How is statistical methodology different from the automated translation we usually see on the Internet? Traditionally, machine translation techniques have been rule-based. BabelFish is an example of rule-based translation. This required many linguists, spending many months, to develop systems that correlated the rules of syntax and grammar from one language to another. The problem with this method is that there are too many exceptions to the rules and the translation output resultant from these systems sounded unnatural and was often wrong.
Language Weaver pioneered a new approach to automated translation called SMT, or statistical machine translation, which fundamentally changes the nature of what can be done with machine translation. Language Weaver’s approach is statistical – that is, the translation engines are built using pattern recognition and probability statistics technology. This machine learning technique uses training documents with already translated parallel corpus, essentially allowing the computer to learn from existing accurate human translations. SMT is not translation memory – the engine can translate texts that contain no repetition of previously translated material (although it needs to have prior knowledge of the vocabulary).
With additional training data, Language Weaver’s quality continues to improve. This is a considerable change from the automated translation techniques that have come before.
5. What is the idea behind Kontrib? Or its mission?
Kontrib’s ultimate goal is to foster communication on the Internet by reducing the language barrier, allowing people from many cultures and languages to see each other’s news stories and opinions in their own local language.
6. How does a user change the language view? And how long does it take to translate?
Kontrib defaults to presenting information in English but if a user wants to change the language, he/she can easily click on the language links in the upper right hand corner. Typically, if a user submits a story in English at 11am - that very same story will be available in Spanish and French within a few minutes.
7. Do I have to be a subscriber to use Kontrib?
If you’re just a casual reader, you can simply go to Kontrib.com, select the language of your choice, and read the site’s content. However, if you’d like to partake in submitting stories, voting on stories, or adding comments, then you’ll need to register with the site. Registration is free. Once you have finished filling out the registration form, an email will be sent to you with your user password. Log in with this password to participate.
8. What benefits does one gain by registering with Kontrib?
In addition to being able to submit and comment on stories, if you become a Kontrib registrant, you will be able to set up your own profile with specific preferences for viewing the site, such as preferred language. If you choose French, for example, not only will the stories come to you in French, but so will the user interface.
9. What other preferences are there besides language?
Additional preference options include:
-Story display mode – Kontrib will default to showing you stories that are available in your native language. However, you have the option of seeing everything on Kontrib’s site - including stories that were not translated into your language (or were simply not available in your language)
-Page reload – You can opt to automatically refresh the front page
-Window choices – Stories can be opened in the same window or in a new window
-Kontrib history – View all the stories you have “Kontributed”
-Bookmarks – Tick off stories that interest you, whether or not you have voted on them
10. How do I contribute stories to the site?
If you read a story or see a Website that you think the other readers would find interesting, share it with the Kontrib community by clicking on the “Kontribute” button in the upper left corner of the Kontrib site. You will be presented with a screen that asks questions and allows you to insert the story text and link. You can contribute stories in any of the languages we support.
11. Why is the text not perfect?
The statistical translation and language models learned by Language Weaver and used in the translation process yield better quality and more natural sounding results than has been available before in computerized translation. Although computerized translation is still not perfect publishing quality we find that with statistical translations users have an easier time working with it and understanding the concepts or “gist” of it.
12. Can users do anything to help make the translation better?
To help Kontrib figure out which translations are good and which ones are bad, we ask users a simple question, “Was this translation helpful?” Please let us know what you think. In the future, we will add a feature that will allow you to correct the sentences to make them better. This information will be useful for us to build better translation systems for all of you. The better the translation feedback, the better the quality being presented back to you.
13. What impact can this social bookmarking site have?
We know there are lots of other social bookmarking sites but all of them only show the text in one language, depending on where they originate. Kontrib’s goal is to make use of today’s language technologies to help bridge the gaps that exist in today’s societies due to language barriers. If we can help someone understand what someone else is saying in a different language, then we believe we’ve provided a useful global service. We like to think the impact potential is enormous.
14. Are there any business advantages to Kontrib?
Kontrib.com takes social bookmarking to a new level by making user generated content available to a wider audience of readers on the Internet. Media companies and publishers will be able to reach a wider audience simply because their content is available in multiple languages. More localization available will translate into more eyeballs viewing the content, which has potential advertising implications.
What about regular readers like you and me? We’ll be able to read and digest more information than ever before. This could also provide the opportunity for us to see different opinions and viewpoints on different topics – and who knows what business advantages that could lead to? Stay tuned – the best is yet to come!
[PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION]