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This module provides a simple API to allow translation between English and several European languages via the babelfish.altavista.com web site. There is one function for simple translation, and one for "babelizing", going back and forth between two languages.

Python, 155 lines
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# babelizer.py - API for simple access to babelfish.altavista.com.
#                Requires python 2.0 or better.
#
# See it in use at http://babel.MrFeinberg.com/

"""API for simple access to babelfish.altavista.com.

Summary:

    import babelizer
   
	print ' '.join(babelizer.available_languages)

    print babelizer.translate( 'How much is that doggie in the window?',
		                       'English', 'French' )

    def babel_callback(phrase):
		print phrase
		sys.stdout.flush()
		
	babelizer.babelize( 'I love a reigning knight.',
						'English', 'German',
						callback = babel_callback )

available_languages
    A list of languages available for use with babelfish.

translate( phrase, from_lang, to_lang )
    Uses babelfish to translate phrase from from_lang to to_lang.

babelize(phrase, from_lang, through_lang, limit = 12, callback = None)
    Uses babelfish to translate back and forth between from_lang and
    through_lang until either no more changes occur in translation or
    limit iterations have been reached, whichever comes first.  Takes
    an optional callback function which should receive a single
    parameter, being the next translation.  Without the callback
    returns a list of successive translations.

It's only guaranteed to work if 'english' is one of the two languages
given to either of the translation methods.

Both translation methods throw exceptions which are all subclasses of
BabelizerError.  They include

LanguageNotAvailableError
    Thrown on an attempt to use an unknown language.

BabelfishChangedError
    Thrown when babelfish.altavista.com changes some detail of their
    layout, and babelizer can no longer parse the results or submit
    the correct form (a not infrequent occurance).

BabelizerIOError
    Thrown for various networking and IO errors.

Version: $Id: babelizer.py,v 1.4 2001/06/04 21:25:09 Administrator Exp $
Author: Jonathan Feinberg <jdf@pobox.com>
"""
import re, string, urllib

"""
Various patterns I have encountered in looking for the babelfish result.
We try each of them in turn, based on the relative number of times I've
seen each of these patterns.  $1.00 to anyone who can provide a heuristic
for knowing which one to use.   This includes AltaVista employees.
"""
__where = [ re.compile(r'name=\"q\">([^<]*)'),
            re.compile(r'td bgcolor=white>([^<]*)'),
            re.compile(r'<\/strong><br>([^<]*)')
          ]

__languages = { 'english'   : 'en',
                'french'    : 'fr',
                'spanish'   : 'es',
                'german'    : 'de',
                'italian'   : 'it',
                'portugese' : 'pt',
              }

"""
  All of the available language names.
"""
available_languages = [ x.title() for x in __languages.keys() ]

"""
  Calling translate() or babelize() can raise a BabelizerError
"""
class BabelizerError(Exception):
    pass

class LanguageNotAvailableError(BabelizerError):
    pass
class BabelfishChangedError(BabelizerError):
    pass
class BabelizerIOError(BabelizerError):
    pass

def clean(text):
    return ' '.join(string.replace(text.strip(), "\n", ' ').split())

def translate(phrase, from_lang, to_lang):
    phrase = clean(phrase)
    try:
        from_code = __languages[from_lang.lower()]
        to_code = __languages[to_lang.lower()]
    except KeyError, lang:
        raise LanguageNotAvailableError(lang)
    
    params = urllib.urlencode( { 'BabelFishFrontPage' : 'yes',
                                 'doit' : 'done',
                                 'urltext' : phrase,
                                 'lp' : from_code + '_' + to_code } )
    try:
        response = urllib.urlopen('http://babelfish.altavista.com/tr', params)
    except IOError, what:
        raise BabelizerIOError("Couldn't talk to server: %s" % what)
    except:
        print "Unexpected error:", sys.exc_info()[0]

    html = response.read()
    for regex in __where:
        match = regex.search(html)
        if match: break
    if not match: raise BabelfishChangedError("Can't recognize translated string.")
    return clean(match.group(1))

def babelize(phrase, from_language, through_language, limit = 12, callback = None):
    phrase = clean(phrase)
    seen = { phrase: 1 }
    if callback:
        callback(phrase)
    else:
        results = [ phrase ]
    flip = { from_language: through_language, through_language: from_language }
    next = from_language
    for i in range(limit):
        phrase = translate(phrase, next, flip[next])
        if seen.has_key(phrase): break
        seen[phrase] = 1
        if callback:
            callback(phrase)
        else:
            results.append(phrase)
        next = flip[next]
    if not callback: return results

if __name__ == '__main__':
    import sys
    def printer(x):
        print x
        sys.stdout.flush();

    
    babelize("I won't take that sort of treatment from you, or from your doggie!",
             'english', 'french', callback = printer)

Please see http://MrFeinberg.com for a web toy that makes use of this module.

It might be interesting to wrap an XML-RPC server around the module.

1 comment

mark williamson 18 years, 1 month ago  # | flag

Reworked to bring up to date 20/oct/2003. Greetings,sl4ckw4re_syst3m@nunswithguns.co.uk here. The above module no longer works as the altavista page has changed, i've modified it slightly and made a working version once again.. Unable to post it all in here as the filters break it for some reason - posting a url instead..

http://gether.2ya.com/babelizer.py

Hope this helps

sl4ckw4re_syst3m