Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ineffectiveness of automated translation on the Web

I originally wrote this entry on August 18, 2004 and published it on

On the Lessig Blog, Tim Wu has written about the Balkanization of the Web, and in a later post, he writes about the ineffectiveness of automated translation to solve the problem. As I noted earlier, what is needed, practical, effective and possible is not automated translation but multi-lingualism and multi-cultural upbringing, or one that has a built-in tolerance for the other. This naturally occurs in some cultures. Others have a way of avoiding it with a great pull to conformity of ideas. For example, if one watches 10 hours of television a day in a particular language from a particular culture, it is highly likely that person will grow with a great degree of identification with his own culture and language as learned from the television environment, particularly when the programming is (mechanically) designed to be highly attractive. Whether a culture which is primarily propagated through television could be an authentic culture or not is a serious matter for consideration.

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