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Translator's Shack is a collection of links, news, reviews and opinions about translation technologies. It's edited and updated by Roberto Savelli, an English to Italian translator, project manager and company owner of Albatros Soluzioni Linguistiche, a team of English-Italian translators, which hosts and supports this blog.

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Meme Miner: get translations of Wikipedia article titles

Wikipedia is a good source of terminology. Wikipedia articles often appear on top of Google search results about specific terms of concepts, and since many articles are translated, or at least written in different languages, it’s often sufficient to click on the corresponding target language in the Wikipedia Languages side bar to jump to the corresponding translated article.

But that’s a lot of clicks, especially because translations are not always available for all languages. If you are only interested in obtaining the translation of the title (which would be the keyword or concept you are looking for), wouldn’t it be nice to just type the source word and see its translation immediately?

There are several online services that offer this functionality. After trying out a few of them, I have settled for Meme Miner for its nice interface and speed. Here’s what a simple search looks like:


So Meme Miner not only displays the term’s translation, but also offers the translated definition, as it appears in the Wikipedia article that uses the searched term as the title. Very useful.

It would be nice to see vendors of translation tools enter into an agreement with Wikipedia about integrating this type of search mechanism into their programs, for instance for pre-populating a glossary, complete with definitions, about a text that is about to be translated.

I also wonder if it would be possible to download bilingual Wikipedia article headings in a way that is easy to manipulate in order to generate bilingual term lists. Any comments about this possibility will be appreciated.

40 comments to Meme Miner: get translations of Wikipedia article titles

  • A good idea, but Wikipedia articles in different languages are written by different authors and are therefore not direct translations (sometimes the content can even be very different).

    • Roberto Savelli

      Hi Gary, thank you for your comment. Yes, I know that Wikipedia articles are not translations of other languages but rather articles written in the native language. I was referring to the headings, or titles, and these are usually very consistent from language to language, so they may be used for glossary creation.

      The whole article, or at least its first block of text, could be used to add a description of every term in both languages. Wikipedia is freely downloadable, but the problem would be manipulating the vast amount of data and turn it into a simple glossary.

  • Ciao Roberto!

    Thanks for covering MemeMiner. I truly appreciate the fact that you found my implementation to be useful, and even better if you think it’s the most useful out there!

    How have you been using it these days?

    Your glossary idea is indeed a very good one. I would guess that a crawler could be built, that would do the hard work and compose the body of translations you mentioned.

    • Roberto Savelli

      Hi Fred, thank you for making your tool available. I’m sure several translators already use it and I hope that a few of them will get to know it through this blog.
      Crawling the Wikipedia site sounds like an interesting concept, but I was wondering if using the offline version of Wikipedia might expedite and simplify things a bit.

  • Great post and useful tool, will use it in work. Localization engineer from my team once build a script that crawled translations of the geographical names in Wikipedia articles – one more way to implement the idea.

    • Roberto Savelli

      Thank you for your kind comment, Marta. Small but well-designed and specific tools like Meme Miner are very interesting for translators and I’m glad to hear that you too have found it useful.

  • Hey, thanks for the kudos. I am thinking about rolling out a version where the user could upload a comma-separated values (csv) file, and get a text file with the translations. This was a request from a fellow translator of yours.

    How useful do you think this feature would be?

  • ah.. It does not support HINDI ? there needs to be update then. But honestly thanks for sharing information, at least i can try in English.

  • Roberto Savelli

    Hi Fred, the CSV file functionality sounds promising. I wonder if this could create problems, since it would probably mean sending multiple requests to Wikipedia.

  • I’ll look at it. Keep an eye out on my twitter feed.

  • Great post and very useful tool,thank you very much for the helpful information. I will definitely come back soon to read some new great articles.

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