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Home » Around BaseballApril 2010 » Planet Baseball

Planet Baseball

I could spend hours playing with Google Translate. Unlike Babel Fish, which uses a rules-based approach licensed from SYSTRAN, Google uses statistical machine translation refined by Franz Josef Och.

These languages either use “baseball” or don’t have the word in Google Translate yet: Afrikaans, Czech, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Malay, Maltese, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Swahili, Swedish, and Welsh.

Albanian: Bejsbol
Arabic: البيسبول
Belarusian: Бейсбол (byejsbol)
Catalan: Beisbol
Chinese: 棒球 (bàngqiú)
Croatian: Bejzbol
Dutch: Amerikaans balspel
Estonian: Pesapall
Filipino: Beisbol
Galician: Béisbol
Greek: Μπέιζμπολ (béizmpol)
Haitian Creole: Bezbòl
Hebrew: כדור בסיס
Hindi: बेसबॉल (bēsabŏla)
Japanese: 野球 (yakyū)
Korean: 야구 (yagu)
Latvian: Beisbols
Lithuanian: Beisbolas
Macedonian: Бејзбол (beJzbol)
Persian: بیس بال
Portuguese: Beisebol
Russian: Бейсбол (byeĭsbol)
Serbian: Бејзбол (beJzbol)
Spanish: Béisbol
Thai: กีฬาเบสบอล (Kīḷā besbxl)
Turkish: Beysbol
Ukrainian: Бейсбол (beўsbol)
Vietnamese: Bóng chày
Yiddish: בייסבאָל

Google failed to return “Honkbal” for the Dutch translation while Babel Fish and Bling Translator (a competing statistical machine translation system developed Microsoft) displayed the correct result. But Google had more languages than Bling, even though they bloated the list somewhat by separating Croatian, Serbian, and Macedonian. In Bling, these mutually intelligible languages appear under the rubric Bulgarian. Google also offers a feature to show romanization for those scripts that do not use the Latin alphabet.

In a year where all eyes will turn to South Africa for the flash and glamor of the World Cup, our little sport will chug along for the next seven months like a Molina on the basepaths.

Bud Selig urged teams, most notably the Red Sox and the Yankees, to speed up their games. But perfection, they say, can’t be rushed.

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