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Door-to-Door Service

From the information highway to the street where you live.

The Station

Ever tried to fit television through a modem?

Search Voyeur

What are all those intrepid web searchers looking for? The answer won't surprise you.

With Intent to Annoy

Nothing on this site is as annoying as the legislation that spawned it.

Art and Architecture

A painter named Barrie has created a site that puts the "space" back into "cyberspace."

The Dark Side

George Lucas brought filmmaking into the digital age. His marketing department has brought Star Wars to the Web.

For more, see the complete Web Citations Index.

Logos 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.

parole picture 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.
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