Introducing FreeTranslate- deploy a personal webpage for neural machine translation with a click!

THE PROBLEM

The language barrier is a major problem during the COVID-19 pandemic when trying to convey critical safety and medical information and to get information to parents and students as we head back to school. Translation services are expensive and there are many communities that need services.

THE SOLUTION

Amazon Web Services has a product called Amazon Translate which is a neural machine translation service, meaning it translates text using machine learning. It is very powerful, and while it cannot replace a human translator, can help people like teachers convey meaning to the communities they work with reliably. Unfortunately this tool is intended for developers, whereas it can be of great value to people who are not programmers who could leverage its generous free usage tier, letting you translate 2 million characters per month for 12 months at no cost.

That’s where FreeTranslate comes in. FreeTranslate is a software project I have worked on that allows people to deploy a personal translation page to use these free credits by simply clicking a button. It will deploy FreeTranslate to your Amazon account and generate a personal URL just for you!

The technical details are that I have built a CloudFormation template that deploys when you click a URL on my projects page. This template deploys an API Gateway (for the webpage and sending translation requests) and a Lambda function (which does the actual translation bit). You can see a diagram from the CloudFormation designer tool here:

Diagram of FreeTranslate and what CloudFormation deploys when you click my Launch Stack button.

SHARING THE SOLUTION

You can deploy it for yourself, view instructions, and see additional pictures here!

As always, the code is open source! You can view it here.

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