From Luis Von Ahn, one of the creators of CAPTCHA – the system that asks you to type random words/numbers to prove that you’re human – comes Duolingo, a new effort to help translate websites and pages on the internet while teaching users a new language. In a way you could liken Duolingo to the meeting of Google Translate (automated translation) with Wikipedia (user submitted information).
Those of us surfing the net will come across websites and pages in foreign languages from time to time. These websites can be translated via Google Translate which is good enough to give us the gist of what the author is trying to say, but unfortunately some parts of the translation becomes lost in the process and the specifics become muddled up. For those whose job requires the digging up of precise and specific information will no doubt understand the frustrations of automated translations.
This is the problem that Duolingo is looking to eliminate. The project will offer to teach users a language of their choice, and in return the user will help to translate bits of the internet in that particular language based on their skill level. According to Duolingo’s calculations, if there one million users learning Spanish on their website, the entirety of Wikipedia could be translated into Spanish in 80 hours.
Sounds like a pretty good idea that will help to translate websites in foreign languages into more legible and understandable formats. Duolingo currently in private beta, but if you’re interested in signing up for it, head on down to their website for more information.