Google, Yahoo! BabelFish Use Math Principles to Translate Documents Online

By Konstantin Kakaes
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, February 21, 2011; 10:22 AM


Early one morning in 2007, Libby Casey was trying to do her laundry in a guesthouse in Reykjavik, Iceland. When she couldn’t figure out how to use the washing machine, she opened up the instruction manual.

The guide was written in German, which Casey cannot read, so she typed bits of it into an Internet translation tool. “It occurs nobody endlschleudern, however, intercatapults” is one result she got. Stumped, she pressed some buttons and eventually managed to wash her clothes, in an elongated wash cycle that kept her pinned down for three hours.

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