Thursday, October 30th8.7°C
23888
22501

Translation tools bring family together

You might use Google Translate to read a hard-to-find Manga comic book or to decipher an obscure recipe for authentic Polish blintzes. Or, like Phillip and Niki Smith in rural Mississippi, you could use it to rescue a Chinese orphan and fall in love at the same time.

Google is now doing a record billion translations on any given day, as much text as you'd find in 1 million books for everything from understanding school lunch menus to gathering national security intelligence. It translates in 65 languages, from Afrikaans to Yiddish, and can be used on websites, with speech recognition and as an app on mobile phones even if there is no connection.

While the technology is exponentially evolving, Google's translation guru Franz Och's face lit up when he heard that the Smiths and their new daughter, 14-year-old Guan Ya, are settling into their new lives together this month communicating almost exclusively through Google Translate.

"All day long I look at algorithms, algorithms and algorithms," he said. "It is so rewarding to hear that it is touching lives."

In the Smiths' case, it changed theirs forever.

The Smiths, who already have three children, first spotted Guan Ya less than a year ago when Niki Smith was looking at photos of hard to place orphans online, offering simple prayers for them one by one. With three children of her own, including a 3-year-old daughter adopted from China, she had no intention of adding to her family.

Then she saw Guan Ya.

"She was just our daughter," said Smith of that chance Internet encounter nearly a year ago. "There was no doubt about it, from the first time we saw her on the Internet."

There were seemingly impossible obstacles to adopting the girl. Firstly, Guan Ya was months away from turning 14, the age at which Chinese law would make her ineligible for adoption. Not only could Guan Ya not speak English, she didn't speak at all.

Guan Ya is deaf.

Undeterred, the Smiths scrambled through the paperwork and home studies that are inherent to international adoptions. With support from both Chinese and U.S. authorities, they expedited the bureaucracy by running a flurry of emails and forms through online translators. And one day Niki Smith received an email from her daughter-to-be, an unintelligible jumble of Chinese characters.

"Well, I couldn't begin to read this letter," said Smith.

That is where Google Translate came into play. Smith cut and pasted the letter into the empty rectangle for the program in her Internet browser and Guan Ya's thoughts magically appeared.

Thus began their heartwarming virtual conversation of love, family and life.

"The computers and software are tools, but I have no doubt that these tools made our bonding so much easier," said Niki Smith.

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News




Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14458.69-68.88
S&P CDNX771.65-9.42
DJIA17195.42221.11
Nasdaq4566.138+16.912
S&P 5001994.65+12.35
CDN Dollar0.8937+0.0002
Gold1198.40-0.20
Oil80.73-0.17
Lumber322.40-1.20
Natural Gas3.715+0.066

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.11+0.01
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.150.00
Cantex0.045-0.015
Anavex Life Sciences0.1711-0.0089
Metalex Ventures0.0350.00
Russel Metals32.22-0.35
Copper Mountain Mining1.97-0.05
Colorado Resources0.14+0.005
ReliaBrand Inc0.012-0.004
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.05+0.025
Mission Ready Services0.375+0.005

 





FEATURED Property
1866587556 Knowles Road, Kelowna, BC
4 bedrooms 4 baths
$799,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Empty nesting: financial issues

Now that the children have ‘left the nest’, it is a good time to step back and take stock of your financial situation. Being on your own will probably cut household costs to some extent, b...


Keep your haunted home safe

Eerie sounds, spooky lights and Jack-o’-lanterns aglow—extra efforts at Halloween will keep visitors coming back for both tricks and treats. However, to keep the fun going, it’s imp...


What I learned in China

Photo: ContributedI will never be an expert on China. It is just too big, too complex and too old with layers of history and meaning that would take several lifetimes to unravel. As I said to my hosts...

_








Member of BC Press Council


23091