In recent years, governments have had a greater need to translate unfamiliar languages such as Urdu, a language spoken by the Muslim communities in Pakistan and North India, and Dari, an Iranian language spoken in Afghanistan. The need comes mainly as a consequence of the development of social media and the ability to collect greater amounts of data, together with several current events which have reshaped the world and its workings. As a reaction to these needs, software and translation companies have found a new niche in the market which has to be covered quickly.
New Translation Needs
Governments and private companies find themselves in the position of trying to find out what their current and potential clients and users are saying online. Languages’ tendency towards inventiveness can cause many translation problems and affect traditional translation models. Such is the case with the creation of new alphabets to make up for the lack of support of certain languages online. Arabizi, for example, is an alphabet which was developed to be used online, given the lack of support of Arabic characters in many websites.
Meeting the Needs
As a reaction, companies such as Basis Technology and Science Applications International Corp. have become involved in supplying the software to tackle these new linguistic needs. Basis Technology’s most important product is called Rosette, a language analysis program that can search great amounts of documents for a specific language or a particular word in that language. According to Jeffrey Heisman, from Science Applications International Corp, the use of technology and translation can help increase governments’ and businesses’ productivity.
Language tools and translation services related to languages such as English, French and Spanish have long been around, but governments and the military currently need new ones that can tackle a variety of rather obscure languages. According to Joel Ross, a former CIA employee who is now working at Basis Technology, a text analysis software company, these products had not been created before and were not already available because there is no commercial business for them. He further added that these technologies will help current human translators become more efficient and productive with the aid of tools that make their work easier.