From the information highway to the street where you live.
For more, see the complete Web Citations Index.
April 23, 1997|
Despite fears about an English-language monopoly on the Internet (which led the French President Jacques Chirac to worry recently about the "complete eradication" of many of the world's languages), cyberspace is in fact teeming with multilingual chatter. Never before has international communication been so easy and so common -- and never before has the need for translation been greater. Businesses are catching on, and the Internet is coming alive with dictionaries.
Leading the pack is LOGOS, an Italian translation company that is building an impressive multilingual online dictionary. Primarily designed for LOGOS's professional translators but also made available free-of-charge on the Web, the LOGOS dictionary currently has more than five million entries, in thirty-one languages, and is growing rapidly. When one searches for a word or a phrase in the dictionary, matches appear in all of the available languages -- and an example of the expression used in context is automatically provided by Wordtheque, LOGOS's rapidly growing and remarkable database of classic works of literature.
LOGOS's editors acknowledge frankly that "as an ongoing and interactive project ...
the Dictionary is inevitably prone to errors and will never be complete."
Interestingly, however, they encourage users who disagree with or can't
find a particular translation to submit their own, which will then be verified
by LOGOS's professionals. The dictionary thus becomes a brilliant example of
how to harness the power of the Internet. In exchange for offering free access
to the dictionary (which, since it already exists for the LOGOS translators, is
easy and cheap to make available on the Web), LOGOS can expect to
enlist the help of amateur linguists worldwide in filling the dictionary's
gaps, catching its mistakes, and increasing its size -- while at the same time
attracting attention to its more sophisticated (and billable) translation
services. Although it hasn't happened yet, it surely won't be long before a visitor to the site adds the word "savvy."
Copyright © 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.