Machine translation could make English-only science accessible to all

“The idea here is that we’re trying to give people the tools and motivation to translate their own scientific research,” Rebecca Tarvin said. “Science doesn’t need to be based on a single language. And there’s lots of additional benefits that come from incorporating multilingual approaches in every phase of science.

Obstacles remain to widespread translation of scientific articles, including where to make them available and how to deal with copyrights. Most journals do not even accept articles that are not in English, and few explicitly allow copublication of articles with a translation. Tarvin has found that few journals have any policies about translations, and as a result of general copyright restrictions, many publishers charge exorbitant fees to post a translation online after publication.


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