Technology.am (July 11, 2009) — The leading French business newspaper, La Tribune is launching a multi-lingual version of its website using automatic translation, dispensing with journalists but producing often comic results.
The paper’s aim is to offer business news in different languages to reach a new public on the Internet. It involves the French website being translated in real time by computer software into English, German, Spanish and Italian, with Japanese and Chinese to come by the end of the year.
Britain’s BBC has an entirely different model for the news website it provides in 30 different languages, staffed by hundreds of journalists, and says it has no plans to cut costs by following La Tribune’s lead.
Some of the BBC’s online content was translated, but that this was always done by journalists.
In Spain, the EFE news agency has been using computers for years to translate Spanish copy into Portuguese and Catalan. But all the copy is revised by editors before being published. This system is possible because Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan are similar languages.
The whole point is that if you want news that has a resonance, you want journalists.
La Tribune currently has one person dealing with the foreign language sites and plans to soon hire another person to tweak the English-language articles, said Astrid Arbey, head of new media at the La Tribune.
The quality of the foreign-language sites is really mediocre because there is no journalistic intervention, the sites may damage the image of La Tribune, which in France has a reputation as a serious newspaper aimed at the banking, financial and business world.