SpeakLike for Wordpress: Reliable, human-based translations allow you to yak it up no matter where you live.

by Mike
Posted March 16th, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Go to the local county fair and walk around listening to the various languages and dialects you hear. Depending on where you live, the scope of spoken languages can actually be pretty expansive. Then think that no matter how many languages you think you are hearing in your little corner of the globe, it is but a tiny, minuscule drop in the bucket. Now take second to think about the millions of conversations that go on over the internet each and every day, on a much larger scale than your typical face-to-face encounter. Pretty intimidating huh? So how do people in different locations actually carry on a conversation?

Well, there are many ways in fact. Perhaps the more common options people are familiar with include Yahoo’s Babblefish and Google Translate. Both are machine based translation services that are free of charge and generally “ok” when accuracy is concerned. (Google Voice translations…need I say more…?) But for the sake of today’s featured article, we’re going to look at New York based company, “SpeakLike” and their robust, human-based translation service.

Besides keeping the lights on, why charge? Simple — it’s community driven. As the description highlights, the translation services provided by SpeakLike are the fruits of labor spanning thousands of actual human bodies. Anyone can become a translator by pointing their browser over here. Again, it won’t be enough to live off of, but that’s not the point. Think of it as added compensation for doing something you may find enjoyable.

Employee compensation and other things aren’t what really matters though. What really takes the cake is how the service works. And….? I’ve only had the plugin installed for a little over an hour so I’ll have to update after I have a good solid few days to play with the plugin. SpeakLike CEO, Sanford Cohen, was kind enough to give me some extra credits to allow me to further test SpeakLight for everyone here. My initial impressions are positive so far. The Wordpress setup was a breeze. With 35 supported languages as of writing, a pretty large swath of the planet’s population is covered. Not a small feat by any means. Again, we have to stress that SpeakLike isn’t as instantaneous as machine based “real-time” methods, it is more than adequte considering it is a real human doing all the grunt work work. Anything from 24-hours up to mere minutes are available for users — see, impressive for us mere mortals. And, because real humans are behind the translation process, users can expect rock solid, quick, (and common sense filled) translations. For those in a hurry, there’s help there too via traditional machine-based translation services as well, just for when those precious seconds just can’t be wasted on waiting.

Some may be worried about the delay in translations. It’s a valid concern really. Sometimes a delay, if even for a few minutes just won’t do. It’s those times when machine based translations services do really shine. But if you’ve got a few, striking it up with a living, breathing body — for now — just cannot be beaten by any machine.

**For those on the go, be sure to check out SpeakLike’s Photo Translator. Simply snap a picture of some text, click a few virtual buttons, and boom — translations on the go!

Stay tuned as I test out SpeakLike for Wordpress. I encourage SpeakLike users to also give me feedback as how to get the most out of the service.

***Interesting Factoid: (You know, being a gadget blog and all), SpeakLike CEO Sanford Cohen’s favorite gadget at the moment is his trusty iPhone 3G.

SpeakLike on Twitter
SpeakLike Website

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