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Manual Reference Pages  -  WWW::BABELFISH (3)

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WWW::Babelfish - Perl extension for translation via Babelfish or Google



  use WWW::Babelfish;
  $obj = new WWW::Babelfish( service => Babelfish, agent => Mozilla/8.0, proxy => myproxy );
  die( "Babelfish server unavailable\n" ) unless defined($obj);

  $french_text = $obj->translate( source => English,
                                  destination => French,
                                  text => My hovercraft is full of eels,
                                  delimiter => "\n\t",
                                  ofh => \*STDOUT );
  die("Could not translate: " . $obj->error) unless defined($french_text);

  @languages = $obj->languages;


Perl interface to the WWW babelfish translation server.


new Creates a new WWW::Babelfish object.


 service:        Babelfish, Google or Yahoo; default is Babelfish
 agent:          user agent string
 proxy:          proxy in the form of host:port

services Returns a plain array of the services available (currently Babelfish, Google or Yahoo).
languages Returns a plain array of the languages available for translation.
languagepairs Returns a reference to a hash of hashes. The keys of the outer hash reflect all available languages. The hashes the corresponding values reference contain one (key) entry for each destination language that the particular source language can be translated to. The values of these inner hashes contain the Babelfish option name for the language pair. You should not modify the returned structure unless you really know what you’re doing.

Here’s an example of a possible return value:

          Chinese => {
                         English => zh_en
          English => {
                         Chinese => en_zh,
                         French => en_fr,
                         German => en_de,
                         Italian => en_it,
                         Japanese => en_ja,
                         Korean => en_ko,
                         Portuguese => en_pt,
                         Spanish => en_es
          French => {
                        English => fr_en,
                        German => fr_de
          German => {
                        English => de_en,
                        French => de_fr
          Italian => {
                         English => it_en
          Japanese => {
                          English => ja_en
          Korean => {
                        English => ko_en
          Portuguese => {
                            English => pt_en
          Russian => {
                         English => ru_en
          Spanish => {
                         English => es_en

translate Translates some text using Babelfish.


 source:      Source language
 destination: Destination language
 text:        If this is a reference, translate interprets it as an
              open filehandle to read from. Otherwise, it is treated
              as a string to translate.
 delimiter:   Paragraph delimiter for the text; the default is "\n\n".
              Note that this is a string, not a regexp.
 ofh:         Output filehandle; if provided, the translation will be
              written to this filehandle.

If no ofh parameter is given, translate will return the text; otherwise it will return 1. On failure it returns undef.

error Returns a (hopefully) meaningful error string.


Babelfish translates 1000 characters at a time. This module tries to break the source text into reasonable logical chunks of less than 1000 characters, feeds them to Babelfish and then reassembles them. Formatting may get lost in the process; also it’s doubtful this will work for non-Western languages since it tries to key on punctuation. What would make this work is if perl had properly localized regexps for sentence/clause boundaries.

Support for Google is preliminary and hasn’t been extensively tested (by me). Google’s translations used to be suspiciously similar to Babelfish’s, but now some people tell me they’re superior.


Dan Urist,


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perl v5.20.3 BABELFISH (3) 2006-12-16

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