From multilingual dictionary to human translation provider

Hablaa started in 2011 as a multilingual dictionary with the goal to add every dead and living language under the sun and create a searchable multilingual dictionary out of it. Let’s face it. There are more than 7’000 languages in this world. A very ambitious task to achieve indeed.

The dictionaries

Dictionaries Hablaa

Dictionaries Hablaa

3 years later, a lot has happened already. However not being able to add every language this world has ever seen yet, there are more than73 different languages added to Hablaa already. These languages form the source for more than 375 bilingual dictionaries. From dictionaries like Aleut – English with a mere 6 entries up to the German – English dictionary with more than 1.4 million entries,  a lot of different dictionaries have been added since the start in 2011. The sources of these dictionaries mostly build freely available multilingual dictionaries that are shared under a GPL license. These dictionaries are imported to Hablaa and it’s sources are clearly cited.

Besides manual corrections on our behalf, our visitors are constantly adding new words to these dictionaries and help to verify correct and wrong translations using our thumb voting system. There are more than 1’000 new translations added daily, that need to be verified and corrected and even more votes on correct and wrong translations.

Apart from the dictionaries, Hablaa is made available in more than 28 different languages, such as German, English, Japanese, Chinese, Bengali and many more. Thousands of lines had to be translated by volunteer and paid professional translators to localize Hablaa and make it accessible to as many people as possible.

A hassle free translation process?

One thing we have learned at Hablaa is, that it is a lot of work to localize and translate a website the size of Hablaa. With it’s thousands of pages and 28 different languages thousands of different text fragments had to be translated. A lot of back and forth with translators and numerous of emails were necessary. Not to mention the search for all the different language professionals and native translators in all these languages, including price discussions and negotiations.

We thought there must be an easier way. This is why we started Hablaa translations in 2014. Our goal is to make the translation process as easy as possible and leave out the hassle involved in localizing big and small projects alike. Our vision is, that you should be able to order a translation in a single click. No registration, no form over 3 to 4 pages. One click or at least no more than 3 to 4 clicks before your translation order is made and you can sit back, relax and wait for your translation to be delivered.

Translation Order Process

Translation Order Process

Many online and offline translation providers and agencies have a different rate for different language combinations. Not so Hablaa. We believe that it is not your fault that in one language there are fewer translators than in a different language or language combination. We have one single price for all the combinations we offer, to make it as simple and easy as possible for you as a customer.

During 2011, we worked together with many different translators. The quality varied a lot. From translators relying mostly and heavily on machine translation to professional translators using advanced translation memories and tools as a support, all kinds of translators were represented. It turned out that the most important factor for quality translations was whether a translator translated into his mother tongue or not. We realized that certainly professional translators were more experiences and you guess it more professional. Nevertheless the factor whether the translator was translating into his mother tongue or not was the most important factor affecting translation quality.

This lesson learnt has led us to the conclusion, that even a non professional language enthusiast is able to provide good quality translations with the benefit of an affordable rate. Of course translators make mistakes, but  so do humans in other professions. This is why translation agencies rely on the four eyes principle. Every translation should be reviewed by a peer translator. This ensures to minimize human errors in translation work.

What about machine translation?

Let me get this straight. We at Hablaa do not believe that human translation is soon to be replaced by machines. Machines often don’t understand the context of a translation. However, we believe that machine translation can assist human translation and help to improve translation quality overall. Furthermore, translators using machine translation as an add-on, without blindly believing it’s output ,can be more productive and faster.  We also heavily believe that the translation process as a whole can be improved greatly. From our experience with our own website we know, that a very time consuming aspect of the translation process itself is finding the right translators at the desired rates, mailing back and forth, receiving and implementing the translations in the right place (CMS for example) without understanding the translation (destination language) yourself.

With Hablaa Translations we set out to reduce transaction costs connected to the translation process.  Our goal is to make translations as easy and affordable as possible.

How does Hablaa Translations work?


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