Wikipedia is an incredible resource – over 3.4 million living, breathing articles supported by an amazing community of contributors and editors. I’ve often wondered who translates the articles into the long tail of over 200 languages that Wikipedia includes. In truth, Wikipedia is heavily English language focused.
Whilst you’ll find any of those 3.4 million articles in English at the click of a button, the next most popular language, German only has a third of that. Many other languages are available, but have less than 100,000 articles available.
With such a rich source of knowledge on tap, more must be done to support the translation effort. Enter WikiBhasha from Microsoft Research in India. It’s a browser-based tool which creates an overlay on top of the Wikipedia website. The user selects an English language article, which is machine translated by WikiBhasha. You can then make any edits you wish to the translation before submitting the article back to Wikipedia in your native language.
It’s not just about translation – the tool can also be used to create, edit and submit new articles to Wikipedia.
WikiBhasha is set to be offered as a user gadget on Wikipedia as well as in the form of a MediaWiki extension, so it’ll be available for translating the huge library of wikis which are powered by the open source software. Whilst the current release focuses on the translation of English language articles, future iterations will include support for articles in other source languages which can be translated into English.
Check out this great profile of WikiBasha and its authors over at the Microsoft Research website.