Where next for language translation? A ‘universal translator’ is probably closer than you think …

I recently posted an article on my blog titled ‘Free online translation websites tested – guess who the winner is …‘, where I commented on the recent developments of free online translation tools, together with some ‘test results’ comparing the translations performed by the first ten translation websites identified by Google search for ‘online translation’.

My research for that article showed that, in particular, a couple of websites, including Yahoo Babel Fish, and Google Translate, are introducing powerful tools to aid not just language translation, but also web search. This made me wonder, ‘Where next for language translation?‘.

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Free online translation websites tested – guess who the winner is …

Mashable recently reported on ‘Google Translate Now Talks and Translates in Real-time‘ (16 November 2009). I haven’t used any online translation tools in quite some time (apart from the checking the odd word now and then with LEO.org), but clearly they have developed quite a lot in the last couple of years.

The power of these language translation tools now have made me think, what is the best free translation software currently on the internet?

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Test results for comparison of free online translation tools

Attached below are the findings of my comparison of selected free online translation tools, in order that they are listed in a search for ‘online translation’ in Google. See my original article on this topic, here, which comments also on the results below.

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Google ‘Wonder Wheel’ – mind maps on steroids!

Picture 7Let’s say you want to research a topic: You start with a general theme, but you’re keen to know more about it.  It might just be something that you have a passing interest in, your favorite band, a research topic for college, a client, or a something that you are working on. What do you do? Often you might Google some key words, and read around the topic.

Such search exercises are often unspecific, and consist more of information gathering to see what can be found and if there is anything of interest – normal search queries pump out numerous results, and by clicking on one or more of the top results, reading the contents of the linked pages, and perhaps following some links in those sites (and more reading) you eventually feel that you know something and can’t dedicate any more time to your search.

I recently came across Google Wonder Wheel and consider that it could be an excellent tool to reduce wasted time and effort in the early research steps, by allowing you to quickly focus your specific interest.

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Google Wave – the future of communications, or just another social media tool?

Google_Wave_logoYou’ve heard of Facebook and Twitter – next up is Google Wave. I recently received an invite to join Google Wave, Google’s new social media/collaboration tool.  Since it is still in a limited preview phase, the only way to join Google Wave is via such invites (read on if you are interested in getting an invite – I have three to give away). I’ve now had some time to play with it, and thought I’d add my thoughts to the growing number of reviewers and critics.

According to the Google Wave ‘About’ page:

Google Wave is an online tool for real-time communication and collaboration. A wave can be both a conversation and a document where people can discuss and work together using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

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Online business games – undiscovered, ‘behind the curve’, or of limited value?

I recently wrote a post about Zynga, an online social games developer (here).  Zynga is growing quickly, wth games that they develop having tens of milions of subscribers/players.  In that post I speculated that there could be a huge opportunity for a business to develop (or co-develop) a successful ‘social business game’.

In the meantime, I came across various examples of online business games, including ‘Energyville‘, an online game developed between Chevron (the energy company) and The Economist (the magazine), which was launched in September 2007 (press release). Energyville isn’t in fact a ‘social game’, but rather just an online game, but I thought that this would be a good opportunity to take the thoughts further, given its backing by two well known companies

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Three stages of economic decline within an organization/network (3 C’s)

iStock_000006191862XSmallAs we have progressed through the deterioration in the economic climate I observed a trend in how people and stakeholders in different organisations and networks respond.  My comments here are principally based on observations from the media, in particular business newspapers such as the Financial Times and the Handelsblatt (a German newspaper) and discussions with friends about what they were seeing in their businesses and through their contacts.

The stages of economic decline could be summarised into three ‘C’s: Cooperation, Competition, and Corruption.

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