The latest news on the API economy
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Every once in awhile we stumble across an API that is “watercooler talk” worthy. Often these APIs are revolutionary in the way that they affect how an industry operates, other times they are just really cool and waste a lot of our time. This past weeks addiction was the Yoda Speak API. This API, from the providers of the Yoda-Speak Generator, takes any text (after formatting it properly) and converts it into something you could imagine Yoda saying to Luke. Just think of the mashup possibilities! I am thinking Yoda-Speak + Twitter = awesome.
In the age of globalization, language translation is one of the key functions that makes sure that the message is delivered in the target language in the original intended fashion. There are various APIs available that do automated translation but we have seen a rise in the number of translation services provided by companies that are backed by human translators. These firms automate the entire process of submitting projects, getting quotes, approving the quotes, providing feedback and other functions via an API. Translation Cloud, a provider of translation services has announced its Translation Cloud API.
By now you've probably heard the thunderclap that just went round the API ecosphere – Google is deprecating a host of APIs. After years of building developers' trust in their platform, Google is effectively pulling the rug out from under many services built not only for commercial means, but for non-profit and educational causes too.
Proving to be too popular, the Google Translate API will be discontinued December 1 due to what the company characterizes as "extensive abuse." Effective immediately, rate limits will be greatly reduced. The search giant announced plans to shutter a dozen APIs in all, though most were older and less used than Translate.
Whether you call it the Telephone Game or Chinese Whispers, it has to be one of the favorite games that we played as kids. The thrill of hearing a completely different phrase than the original one made the game so much fun. Google’s Pamela Fox has taken this popular game to an automated online version using the Google Translate API and created a social experience that is bound to keep you trying some phrases just for the hilarious output produced at times.
Automated language translation is a great way to bridge the language barrier, but while the solutions available today will allow you to get the general gist of text written in another language, the results are far from perfect and not suitable for many scenarios. Now myGengo has an API that can help.
The Haitian earthquake disaster prompted a quick response from tech companies, who have provided practical applications to aid in the disaster response. The Microsoft Translator Team has pitched in by announcing that Creole, a language spoken by nearly 80% of Hatians, is now supported in its language translation service Bing Translator.
Did you know that leraar is a Dutch word? A new API, LangID can help you with those pesky language identification problems. Feed it a string of text and the API returns the name of the language, its ISO code and even an image of the flag for a country that speaks the language (the latter could be a hot-button political issue--watch out). You can choose your output as either XML or browser-friendly JSON. (More details at our LangID API profile.)
Google has just released a new Virtual Keyboard API as part of its AJAX Language API that should enrich sites that use forms to collect information from multi-lingual users. This new API (our Google Virtual Keyboard API Profile) allows users to input text into form fields in a variety of languages (and corresponding characters) without the need for a physical keyboard or specialized software.
If you've ever wanted to programmatically translate text from one language to another directly from code, there's a new web service from Microsoft Research you might want to try. It's the recently announced new Microsoft Translator AJAX API and web widget. The API provides automated translation of web pages and portions of web pages into 12 different languages including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Polish, and Russian. The Microsoft Research team plans to add more languages over time.