The Worldwide Lexicon is an open source project, meaning it is free software. Free to use, and free to modify. I have worked on this project for over ten years now, and share these tools with the goal of making the language barrier on the web a thing of the past. (Read my recent essay "The End of the Language Barrier"
To see a preview of what the next evolution of the web could be, try our Firefox Translator
. The translator turns your web browser into a multilingual browser. You can open a page, and if it is in another language, it will translate it. Think of this as a working prototype of what we want to build, not just for Firefox, but for the entire web.
Our goal is to make translation, using humans and machine translation, an embedded service, an invisible part of the Internet that billions of people use each day, but nobody sees. The Internet is built from dozens of services like this: SMTP to send email, HTTP to send web pages, SIP for phone calls, and so on. We have made significant progress this year, first with the release of our translation memory, and this summer, with the release of the Firefox Translator. We have much more planned. Here are some of the projects we want to commission, and that you can help fund.
If you think our work is valuable, please consider making a donation. Donations to WWL will fund ongoing work, and will be booked as a loan that will be repaid from commercial services we are developing. We can't guarantee that WWL will be commercially successful, but if it is your donation will be repaid up to two times what you donated. If not, the tools we build are open source, and are free for the world to use, so you'll still be supporting valuable work either way. To make a donation, go to the download page for the Firefox Translator
where you can donate via Paypal.
We need your support. WWL is an independent company. It is not affiliated with a major corporation or university, nor have we raised venture financing. With your support, we can achieve our goal of eliminating the language barrier.
Donate Today, Sponsorship Opportunities
You can use Paypal to send a donation in the amount of your choosing. Every $50 funds roughly a person-hour of engineering and development work (some developers cost more, others less, but this is a good median number). Your contribution will fund the creation of new translation tools that are free for the world to use. (Imagine the applications for this in the public health sector alone). Donations are booked as loans, and will be repaid from future commercial services.
|Amount of Work Funded||Donation Amount|
We offer several sponsorship opportunities to the people and companies that support our work.
- Basic Sponsorship ($100 to $500) : We will list your name, company and website in the list of authors and sponsors.
- Silver Level ($500 to $1000) : We offer premium positioning in the list of sponsors, and a text link on our home page.
- Gold Level ($1000 to $5000) : Full color advertising on our home page, text link in the Firefox Translator, and premium positioning in the list of sponsors.
- Platinum Level ($5000 and more) : All of the above, plus the option to request custom software development (for example, to build a module to connect to your systems).
The Firefox Translator demonstrates how to embed live translation within a web browser. It works well, but you must have this addon to view and edit translations. We want to do the same thing for web servers and web applications, so you can visit a website and see it translated in any browser. To do this, we are developing TransKit, a high performance module that can be embedded in web servers to translate pages as they are transmitted to users, as well as client applications such as browsers.
We are developing several versions of TransKit for use in both client and server applications. This library will make it easy for software developers to embed high performance human/machine translation features in their applications, using a simple library with just a few function calls. The library will provide the following features to developers:
- High performance runtime module, written in C, designed to be fast, with a small memory footprint
- Disk based and in-memory caching to minimize calls out to remote servers for human or machine translations
- Simple API makes accessing translation services easy, with just two or three function calls
- Portable code, should work on most systems.
- Special version for web browser developers, will enable web browsers to directly integrate translation services.
Internet Explorer Translator
We plan to develop an addon for Internet Explorer that provides the same services as the Firefox Translator. We will use TransKit to build this addon, and hope to publish a beta version of this tool in the fourth quarter of 2009. Your donation will help us commission work from developers who are expert at building IE addons, and will make live human/machine translation available to an even broader audience.
A longer term project for us is to make WWL part of mobile browsers. This work is slated for 2010 and beyond. We are targeting the Android platform in particular because it is the most open development environment for mobile devices that is widespread commercial use.
Use of Funds
Worldwide Lexicon Inc. is a California corporation. While WWL is not a non-profit (we plan to create a non-profit foundation for the open source code at some point), we publish all of our software as open source. We do this as a public service, with the near term goal of making WWL and derivative works an embedded service, and part of the Internet infrastructure. Our budget is small, a few hundred thousand dollars per year, and is allocated as follows:
- Core team (2 people drawing engineers salaries)
- Project manager / client support
- Contractors for commissioned work on specialized projects
- Small shared office space
- Travel to select open source and translation conferences
- Standard overhead for a small business (accounting, legal, etc)
Following is an approximate budget with a break down of how funds will be allocated. Roughly 80-90% of the funds will directly fund engineering and software development work on open source tools, with the remainder for standard small office overhead and travel to a handful of relevant conferences and symposia.
|Category||Approx Annual Budget|
|Engineering/Core Development (2)||$200,000|
|Project Management/Client Relations (1)||$100,000|
|Contractors For Commissioned Projects||$100,000 or as funded by clients/sponsors|
|Total (Goal, Budgets To Track Funding)||$400,000 - $500,000|
Our goal is to raise several hundred thousand dollars in this drive. Donations will be booked as loans, to be repaid from future commercial services should they prove successful. Regardless of the commercial outcome, all of the tools we develop with this funding will be open source and will be free for the world to use.
So if you're comfortable with this, and think our work is worthy of support, please consider making a donation of $250 to $1,000 (although no donation is too big, or too small). If a few hundred people from the technology industry step up to support our work, we can accomplish our fundraising goal.
You can also help by commissioning projects to implement WWL on other systems, such as a content management system your company uses and would like us to support. If you have a specific feature request, contact bsmcconnell at gmail/skype for further details about our product roadmap.
Thank you for your support. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at bsmcconnell at gmail/skype.
Worldwide Lexicon Project