Babelplex Multilingual Search Engine – the C3PO of Search
I live in a bilingual household, well, make that trilingual. I’m an English speaker from the US and my wife is a dual Brazilian/Japanese citizen. I lived in Japan for 18 months and then spent about the same amount of time in Brazil. My Japanese is good, I can communicate quite well (much better than my reading ability) and my Portuguese is basic. My wife’s understanding of English is about on the same level as Ladka in Taxi. With this language gap between us, we do have some interesting conversations, switching back and forth between languages like C3PO telling stories to Ewoks.
Being said, I just got an email from HK Tang from Seattle based Babelplex – a meta bilingual search engine! Now with the help of web search I may be able to throw aside all of my Rough Guide pocket dictionaries and turn to my laptop to explain things in further detail. Babelplex is a bilingual search service that searches the web in one language and in another language via a cross-language information retrieval system utilizing AltaVista – Babel Fish Translation, Google Translate, or Yahoo! Language Search Tools for translation and utilizing AltaVista, Google, or Yahoo! for search.
Think of Babelplex as plugging a Babelfish into a search engine to do bilingual search, it’s quite useful. Babelfish + Multiplexed Search = Babelplex. For best results on Babelplex, it’s important to choose your Language Pair exactly. For example, if you choose “English query in Simplified Chinese”, the translation service expects your search terms to be in the English language. If the search terms are not in the English language, the query translation to Simplified Chinese will turn up funny.
Oh, and be sure to use simple terms when searching. For example, if I search for “travel to mexico” for our upcoming getaway to Tulum (south of Cancun), the results are spectacular. One of the coolest features is that the results are shown in split screen, with Google english on the left hand side and Google Portuguese on the right. My wife and I would have no problem finding out information about our trip. However, I tried a search for “search engine news” from English to Portuguese and Babelplex translated “Search Engine” to “Search Motor” – resulting in web pages about car engines. For such non-dictionary translations, Babelplex does not work too well. For that matter, niether does BabelFish, so all is not lost.