Page 1 of 1

Babelfish Translation Question

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:14 pm
by hongkongphooey
I work in a bilingual office in Tokyo. While my conversational Japanese is OK, I still have a lot of trouble reading kanji (Japanese characters). Periodically I use the Altavista translation engine ( to help me make sense of some text from a particular email.

Ideally, I'd love to be able to automate the process with something like a Launchbar search template, however, I haven't been able to figure out how. I've tried a bunch of options on my own, but nothing is working. I don't know if it's possible, but any help from the experts (or even pointing me in the right direction) would be really appreciated.

The way I see this working is that I would:

- select a block of text
- copy it
- Invoke launchbar
- Find Babelfish search template
- Hit space
- Paste text
- Hit enter

Then the template would automatically open the babelfish page, paste the selected text into the 'translate a block of text' section of the page, select the Japanese to English option, and then click the translate button.

The idea is it would work just like a search template, but allow me to get a rough translation instead.

But as I've said, I'm a bit stymied by the Altavista code. Is there anyone out there who could help? Any advice would be great.


Getting closer...

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:49 pm
by hongkongphooey
After looking further at the source code from the page, I've tinkered a bit with my translation search template. This seems to get pretty close:*&lp=ja_en

It looks like it gets me to the right page, but somehow the text encoding of the Japanese characters seems to get messed up... So I get a bunch of "??????????" in the translated box. It looks like it could work though...

On the plus side, the right option on the pulldown bar is selected now, which will save me a bunch of time regardless. Still, it'd be nice if I could get this to input the text correctly.

In case anyone wants to muck around with this, here's a couple of simple Japanese characters I've been using to run the test:


Together they mean "name" (like on a form indicating where you have to write your name).

Interestingly, it looks like if I just copy the above characters into Launchbar, I can run them through the Japanese search engines no problem (Yahoo Japan, Google Japan, etc). But the US versions of the Google or Yahoo page has the same problem (bunch of '???'). So it looks like it's definitely an encoding problem.

But of course, I'm just guessing here. I'd sure appreciate any pointers.


Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:42 am
by hongkongphooey
OK - now I just I figured out one more thing. :)

I noticed there are three types of search templates in the Launchbar config. For my Japanese translation search template if I save the template in the EUC or ISO Latin 1 areas, I get the ??? problem.

But if I save the new Babel fish search template in the UTF-8 area, that seems to solve the encoding problem.

So close.

But now there's just one last problem.

Now the search template takes the Japanese text, sets the translation to go from Japanese-English, enters the text in the right part of the website, but you still have to manually click 'translate'.

Anyway, this is a huge improvement. At least I avoid that pull down menu, and the text is automatically placed in the right area. But can anyone figure out how to add in the final element - the final click on the translate button?