Indonesia to crowdsource disaster-related translations

Language game prompts users to translate keywords related to disasters into their own language or dialect.

Pulse Lab Jakarta, a partnership between the UN and the Ministry of National Development and Planning of Indonesia, and UN Global Pulse are launching the second phase of the language game Translator Gator, it was announced. First launched in 2016, the game was developed to create text-mining dictionaries. To better understand how people think and feel about issues that affect their lives, researchers use taxonomies, or sets of keywords. They use these taxonomies to mine social media data and extract information on topics such as education, healthcare or early warning response, according to a blog post by Pulse Lab Jakarta on the UN Global Pulse website. However, building a taxonomy for lesser-known languages and dialects can be challenging, which is where the game comes in. It prompts people to translate key words and phrases from English to their native language; evaluate others' translations; suggest alternative words or phrases; and classify words and phrases into categories. Last year, the game gathered over 109,000 contributions from players in four months, and helped create taxonomies for six Indonesian languages, the post said. This year, Translator Gator is being used to support disaster management and humanitarian efforts. It invites citizens across ten ASEAN countries and Sri Lanka to translate disaster-related keywords into their respective languages and dialects, the post said. These crowdsourced taxonomies will in future be used not only to "better understand the responses of affected populations before/during/after a disaster, but also to better communicate with them through various channels", according to the blog post. The project also hopes to "raise awareness of disaster risks, management and response" among tech-savvy youth in the participating countries. According to a UN report, Asia Pacific is considered the world’s most disaster-prone region, with as many as 160 natural disasters occurring in the region in 2015 - causing the loss of thousands of human lives and economic losses of US$45.1 billion.