Feb. 23, 2012 at 1:13 PM ET
The Google landscape stretches all over the world, so it makes sense it would now incorporate a new language into its translation options that transcends borders and seeks to unity in its common usage: Esperanto.
The addition was announced in a blog post entitled, "Tutmonda helplingvo por ĉiuj homoj" (which Google Translate interprets as "International auxiliary language for all people").
It seems like the language -- which has elements of Indo-European languages but has also been adopted by speakers in the Americas, China and Japan -- is a good fit for Google Translate:
"The Google Translate team was actually surprised about the high quality of machine translation for Esperanto. As we know from many experiments, more training data (which in our case means more existing translations) tends to yield better translations. For Esperanto, the number of existing translations is comparatively small. German or Spanish, for example, have more than 100 times the data; other languages on which we focus our research efforts have similar amounts of data as Esperanto but don’t achieve comparable quality yet. Esperanto was constructed such that it is easy to learn for humans, and this seems to help automatic translation as well."
Esperanto is the brainchild of Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof, who introduced the language to the world in 1887 under the pseudonym "Doktoro Esperanto" (Doctor Hopeful).
Estimates for modern speakers of Esperanto range wildly from 10,000 to two million. It is even the language used exclusively for instruction at the International Academy of Sciences in the republic of San Marino, on the Italian peninsula. More information about it can be found at the Universal Esperanto Association. (Don't worry, there is an English language page.)