Children’s television channel CBeebies is to air 30 episodes of a new show entitled Magic Hands as part of the spring schedule. The 5 minute programme, aimed at children under 6, will be in BSL (British Sign Language) and is to feature four presenters who have been deaf since birth and are new to our screens.
This is a groundbreaking show for British television as the aim of the programme is to bring to life a mix of modern and classic poetry using sign language, animation, music and spoken word.
Series producer, Judith Bunting, says:
“Translating modern and traditional poems for children into BSL on such a scale is a first. There are deaf poets and deaf theatre companies but no national television company has ever tried translating children’s poetry into BSL. It was a mammoth task and our artistic interpreter has done an amazing job, taking the intricacies of verse from the 19th to 21st centuries and transforming them into a terrific series of performances.”
Each episode is based around a single verse of poetry and the selected poems are diverse, ranging from Maya Angelou to Shakespeare.
Someone sent me this which I thought I’d share with you… it’s kind of pointless but interesting at the same time.
Music video experimentalists Collective Cadenza decided to put the lyrics to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme tune through every single language on Google Translate… and back to English. Here’s the result.
Youtube has added some more languages to its ‘translate captions’ service. Six European languages will now join the existing English, Spanish, Japanese and Korean. These appear automatically in videos when you click on the “turn on captions” button at the bottom of the video. This doesn’t apply to music videos. The subtitles are generated using Google Voice (voice recognition technology.)
If you discover an error, there are ways to submit corrections. Google are also working on a new feature to translate the subtitles into other languages.
For now, you can use subtitles in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Russian, which is great if you’re learning any of these languages. Find a video in the language you’re learning and try it out!
You might know of popular site engrish.com, which displays translation mistakes on signs around the world. This phenomenon is happening a little closer to home as well!
In the Vale of Glamorgan in Wales, officials put up this sign.
The Welsh text translates as “Station current closed in front follow entertainment,” leaving motorists thankful that the English alternative makes sense. Network Rail, who employ contractors to undertake highway maintenance, have pledged to investigate and rectify the mistakes.
Embarrassingly for the bilingual country, this isn’t the only recent translation blunder. Readers of Welsh language magazine Golwg have submitted so many examples of badly translated public information that the magazine has decided to publish a book entitled Sgymraeg (bad translations.)
Shoppers at Tesco in Swansea were confused by this sign last year, as allanfa is Welsh for exit.
Ed Manley and James Cheshire from UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), were busy this summer. The two researchers collected data from 3.3 million tweets during the London 2012 Games, using Twitter’s API. They then created an impressive looking map of all of the locations of those tweets. Not only that, but the map is colour coded for each language. The grey parts of the map were tweets in English, which makes up the majority of it. There are pockets of colour elsewhere though, in descending order representing Spanish (white), French (red), Turkish (blue), Arabic (green), Portuguese (purple), German (orange), Italian (yellow), Malay (cyan), and Russian (violet). There were 66 languages used, identified and recorded. The languages tweeted least were Georgian, Belarusian, Telugu and Armenian.
Ed Manley explains that Tagalog, which is spoken in the Philippines, was excluded from the data as “many of these classifications included just uses of English terms such as ‘hahahahaha’, ‘ahhhhhhh’ and ‘lololololol’.” It was initially the 7th most tweeted language.
They are quick to point out that the work absolutely isn’t a true representation of the diverse demographic of London. A lot of tweets are located on main roads and along train lines. Also, they have only included tweeters who have a good GPS location and are connected to the internet.
Facebook has rolled out a new translation feature to users’ profile pages. The social network site has teamed up with search engine Bing, to provide a translation link on comments which are posted in another language. The translation feature, which has been available on fan pages for a while, will allow users to click a link and the translation will pop up in your preferred language. Good news for those of us with international friends whose language we can’t speak!
If you’re a user of Google’s Gmail service, you will soon be able to translate more easily within your email! The new system, which is being rolled out to all users during the next few days, will work much like a Google search which asks if you’d like to translate the page when the search engine finds the page in another language.
To translate a message manually, you can click on Translate Message in the header at the top of the message. If you want things to happen automatically, select Always translate. If you don’t need translation for a specific language, you can select Turn off and messages in that particular language won’t be translated for you. Further instructions can be found in the official Google Blog post.
This will save lots of time and copy and pasting to Google Translate!
Google has announced that over 200 million people use its’ Translate service every month.
Google Translate launched in 2006 offering Chinese and Arabic translation, and now offers translation in 64 different languages.
Google Research Scientist Franz Och said in an official blog post:
In a given day we translate roughly as much text as you’d find in 1 million books. To put it another way: what all the professional human translators in the world produce in a year, our system translates in roughly a single day. By this estimate, most of the translation on the planet is now done by Google Translate.
Whilst the translation system isn’t as precise as a human translator, there’s no denying it’s popularity and usefulness.
Following on from the news of the development of a new program to help us speak languages; the latest buzz in the technology world is a device which will translate sign language to text. The intention of the program, named the Portable Sign Language Translator, is that it will be used as an app on a tablet, Smartphone or laptop, and will allow deaf people or people with speech difficulties to communicate with hearing people more easily.
A camera will record the user’s hand signs, and then import the recording into the program, and translate it to text. Researchers and scientists at Aberdeen University, who are developing the project, say that the program will be customisable to the user’s needs, and will even allow users to develop their own signs for words and phrases they may need for work or studies.