Google ‘Health Speaks’ for online medical info in Hindi

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Internet search giant Google is encouraging volunteers to translate health-related articles in Hindi under its initiative to boost the amount of online medical information in local languages.google-logo-mountainview-01

Google.org has introduced pilots for its initiative ’Health Speaks’ that aims to increase the online health information in Hindi, Arabic and Swahili.

The search giant said it has chosen hundreds of health articles, written in English, from Wikipedia for their translation. Volunteers who are bilingual in English and anyone of the vernaculars are being encouraged to translate the literatures with assistance from the Google Translator Toolkit.

Translators are also supposed to review the articles and make it locally relevant before publishing it on the corresponding local language Wikipedia site.

Pilot programmes are supported with a donation incentive, awarding local charities with funds based on the number of words volunteers translate, Google said in a statement.

For the first 60 days, Google will donate 3 US cents (about 45 paise) to the Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi, for each English word translated in Hindi. The maximum donation would USD 50,000.

The Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt 57357 and the African Medical and Research Foundation would get the same amount for the pilots in Arabic and Swahili, respectively.

“Language should not be the barrier that denies millions of people worldwide the opportunity to improve their health with valuable health information,” Jennifer Haroon, Manager of Health Initiatives at Google.org, said.

In most parts of the world, quality information that would help people to improve their health is not available online in local languages. In 2004, Lancet -- a medical journal -- described the lack of access to health information as a “major barrier to knowledge-based healthcare in developing countries.”

The authors then noted “among currently available technologies, only the Internet has the potential to deliver universal access to up-to-date healthcare information.”

Currently, professional translation of high quality health content is expensive and there are difficulties in finding translators for some non-western languages

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