I've been thinking about languages again. I talk to a lot of companies, many of them outside the US. Fortunately for me, English is very popular as a second language, which makes the conversations possible. It doesn't always help me with their web sites and blogs, however, and so I find myself making regular use of automated translation services. The piece I'm missing is a reliable way to translate RSS feeds.
Rafe Needleman posted a quick, easy, and—when I tried it—ineffective method of translating feeds using Yahoo Pipes. The titles get translated, but the body stays in the original language. Not much help. I didn't get any farther with Google Translate, although I'm still experimenting with other combinations of translation and RSS services. If you've found a combination that works, I'd like to hear about it.
What we need is a feed translation service, which takes in a feed, translates it, and creates a new, translated feed. With the acquisition of Feedburner, Google has the pieces. Any chance they'll do it?
If the whole idea of machine translation goes against everything you know about language, I know. I'd rather be able to read all those languages, too, but there will always be languages I can't read, and I can't justify proper translations. I can do a minimally acceptable job reading the French blogs, and I can get the general idea with other Romance languages. There will always be more languages that I can't read, and for those, machine translations are a great service, even with their flaws.
Science project challenge
Speaking of languages, I haven't heard from anyone who's tried my translingual influencer analysis science project. If your company has multilingual capabilities and does influence analysis, this could be a powerful demonstration. Can you identify relevant, influential sources who pick up a topic in one language and write about it in another?