Doesn't Google Translate Already Do That?
No, They Don't
No, They Can't

Have you ever come to an intersection in a strange place and found yourself following the bulk of the cars, on the gamble that the most popular direction is the place you are most likely headed? That's a similar premise to statistical machine translation, and the Achilles' heel of today's 🏭 industry leader, Google Translate. In their words:
"Typically, when we produce a translation, our system searches through millions of possible translations, selecting the best -- that is, the most statistically likely -- translation.
Google Translate is useful for interpreting the general gist of a 📃 text, and can be quite good in certain circumstances for translations between English and a few lucrative languages. Were it called "Google Approximate", users would know that they are getting a best guess that has a high probability of choosing the wrong vocabulary. The likelihood of error is to a large degree a function of the number of senses a polysemous term has and the number of times that term appears in a parallel corpus with the translation language. Google passes all or most other-to-other translation tasks through English, thereby multiplying the polysemy error probability and eliminating the mitigating aid of parallel text. This makes non-English Google Translate pairs existential 🚂☠ train wrecks.

We contend that overlaying Kamusi's 🎓 knowledge-based structure and methods will ultimately lead to much more accurate machine translations, among many more language pairs. Certainly Google and the other players in the MT 🏭 industry have made tremendous efforts that should be built upon. Kamusi is open to collaborating with anyone in MT who wishes to benefit from our sense-specific 👅👅👅🔢 multilingual data, including lexicalized 🎉 party terms that are marked for separability. We are currently programming our source side pre-disambiguation tool that will be your first opportunity to see our claims in action.

Google makes lots of claims questioned by experts about its leaps using neural networks, and there is no doubt their precision numbers can improve as they tweak their methodology. Any Swahili speaker, for example, who has tried to make it to their boarding gate using the embedded Google "translation" service in the Chicago O'Hare Airport website, knows they have nowhere to go but up. Machine translation is only as good as the underlying data that lets you know a term in one language has the equivalent meaning of a term in another. Google's method is to draw inferences from texts that they think line up between languages. Kamusi's method is to look at each concept, have people determine the links, and lock down that knowledge for machines to learn from. Of course, manually reviewing translation terms for every word is a very large task, which is much more labor intensive and takes a lot longer than setting computers to whir through the numbers. In the long run, however, we suggest that the effort to have people determine mappings across languages will lead to translations that get it right, in ways that statistical methods such as Google Translate have not done and cannot ever do.

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Kamusi GOLD

These are the languages for which we have datasets that we are actively working toward putting online. Languages that are Active for you to search are marked with "A" in the list below.

Key

•A = Active language, aligned and searchable
•c = Data 🔢 elicited through the Comparative African Word List
•d = Data from independent sources that Kamusi participants align playing 🐥📊 DUCKS
•e = Data from the 🎮 games you can play on 😂🌎🤖 EmojiWorldBot
•P = Pending language, data in queue for alignment
•w = Data from 🔠🕸 WordNet teams

Software and Systems

We are actively creating new software for you to make use of and contribute to the 🎓 knowledge we are bringing together. Learn about software that is ready for you to download or in development, and the unique data systems we are putting in place for advanced language learning and technology:

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Kamusi has many elements. With these articles, you can read the details that interest you:

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We welcome your comments and questions, and will try to respond quickly. To get in touch, please visit our contact page. You must use a real email address if you want to get a real reply!

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© Copyright ©

The Kamusi Project dictionaries and the Kamusi Project databases are intellectual property protected by international copyright law, ©2007 through ©2016, under the joint ownership of Kamusi Project International and Kamusi Project USA. Further explanation may be found on our © Copyright page.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Commentary

Discussion items about language, technology, and society, from the Kamusi editor and others. This box is growing. To help develop or fund the project, please contact us!

Our biggest struggle is keeping Kamusi online and keeping it free. We cannot charge money for our services because that would block access to the very people we most want to benefit, the students and speakers of languages around the world that are almost always excluded from information technology. So, we ask, request, beseech, beg you, to please support our work by donating as generously as you can to help build and maintain this unique public resource.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to general questions you might have about Kamusi services.

We are building this page around real questions from members of the Kamusi community. Send us a question that you think will help other visitors to the site, and frequently we will place the answer here.

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To keep Kamusi growing as a "free" knowledge resource for the world's languages, we need major contributions from philanthropists and organizations. Do you have any connections with a generous person, corporation, foundation, or family office that might wish to make a long term impact on educational outcomes and economic opportunity for speakers of excluded languages around the world? If you can help us reach out to a potential 💛😇 GOLD Angel, please contact us!