Opening Up a World of Information for Latinos

IBM Launches Nationwide Partnership With Non-Profits

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ARMONK, NY - 04 Sep 2003: -- Hispanics with access to English content on the World Wide Web will soon have access to richer, higher quality information through a new initiative announced today by IBM. Working in close partnership with Hispanic non-profit organizations in major urban centers across the country, IBM researchers will refine and perfect state-of- the-art software that will effectively translate English content into Spanish on the Web.

Through the new grant program, called TraduceloAhora! (Translate Now) Automatic Translation Project, IBM will provide access to English-to-Spanish translation software for 30 non-profit groups that serve the Hispanic community in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and New York City. The clients and staff of these organizations will collaborate to provide ongoing feedback about the usefulness and the clarity of the translation software to an IBM research team. With regular input from users, the translation technology will improve, become clearer and more refined -- and ready to benefit the communities it is designed to serve.

"We believe when you combine IBM's technological resources with direct feedback from the community, you can take a significant leap across the Hispanic Digital Divide," said Stanley S. Litow, president of the IBM International Foundation and vice president of IBM Corporate Community Relations. "The lack of meaningful English to Spanish translation technology as well as a dearth of crucial Web sites in Spanish repeatedly comes up as major barriers for Latinos. TraduceloAhora! is an important first step in overcoming these obstacles."

According to the findings of a recent report, Latinos and Information Technology: The Promise and The Challenge, prepared by The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute for the IBM Hispanic Digital Divide Task Force, the absence of physical access to computers and the Internet is only one barrier faced by Latinos. Equally significant is the shortage of language appropriate content.

Community-based organizations taking part in TraduceloAhora! assist Hispanics from various ethnic backgrounds including Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Colombian, Dominican, Salvadoran and Guatemalan and provide a wide variety of services such as job training, literacy, health delivery, and legal aid.

The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, recognized as the nation's premier Latino think tank, will work with the community service organizations gauging how Latinos use translation technology. They will also assess whether the availability of translation software improves how the organizations can help the people in their communities.

"Despite the fact we are increasingly a global society, more than half of the content on the Internet is still in English. And, much of the available translation software tends to have a high margin of error," said Harry Pachon, Ph.D, president of The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute. "The hands-on feedback provided by people from different Latin American backgrounds will be invaluable in developing technology that can bring the Internet to a large and growing portion of our country."

The participating community-based organizations will receive a donation of six personal computers and printer, access to the latest version of the automatic translation software, as well as technical support from IBM's researchers. In total, TraduceloAhora! represents a one-million-dollar IBM commitment.

"The capability of translating web page content from English to Spanish will open new doors to Latinos anywhere. TraduceloAhora! provides our community the opportunity to access knowledge and information --'ahora' (now) -- which was basically unavailable to the majority of our community members," said Ronald Blackburn-Moreno, President and CEO of the Aspira Association and a member of the IBM Digital Divide Task Force.

Spanish and bilingual content continue to be essential, especially for first-generation Latinos, the very people who turn to non-profit organizations for help. Spanish translations of frequently used Web sites, such as those dealing with immigration, health care, and jobs, will also be included in the grant initiative.

"This unique partnership between non-profit organizations and IBM researchers is a win-win for everyone," said Nelson Correa, IBM consultant and project lead from IBM Watson Research Center. "The ongoing feedback from the community will tell us what is helpful and what needs improvement. Working together, we should have the best possible final product for users who depend upon Spanish translation for access to the world of information on the Internet."

TraduceloAhora! is part of IBM's commitment to helping Hispanics bridge the Digital Divide. For the third consecutive year, IBM is the lead corporate sponsor of La Familia Technology Week, October 5-11. Through a series of activities across the country, La Familia Technology Week programs will highlight to parents and children the importance of technology to their future and to the future and career preparation of their children.

The TraduceloAhora! Automatic Translation Grant Program should be completed by the end of 2004. For more information about TraduceloAhora! please go to www.ibm.com/ibm/ibmgives.

A list of the community-based organizations is attached.

IBM TraduceloAhora! Automatic Translation Program -- Grant Sites

Chicago, IL
Aspira of Illinois
Association House of Chicago
Central States SER-Jobs for Progress
Erie Neighborhood House
Instituto del Progreso Latino
Spanish Coalition for Jobs, Inc.

Dallas, TX
Dallas Concilio
Dallas Reads
DCET/Believe in Yourself, Inc.

Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth SER-Jobs for Progress

Houston, TX
SER-Jobs for Progress of the Texas Gulf Coast

Los Angeles, CA
CHARO Community Development
Heart of Los Angeles Youth
Los Angeles Urban League
Para Los Ninos

Miami, FL
Aspira Inc. of Florida
Cuban American National Council
M.U.J.E.R. (Mujeres Unidas en Justicia, Educacion y Reforma)
SER-Jobs for Progress Florida

New York, NY
Advocates for Children of New York, Inc.
Aspira of NY, Inc.
Coalition for Hispanic Family Services (Brooklyn, NY)
F.E.G.S.
Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund
Society for the Educational Arts, Inc.

National Organizations (receiving access to software only)
National Council of La Raza (Washington, DC)
The Aspira Association (Washington, DC)
Hispanic Federation (New York, NY)
SER-Jobs for Progress National (Irving, TX)

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