중앙데일리

Father of Internet meets Korea’s first astronaut

June 23,2008
Google Vice President Vinton Cerf, left, receives a souvenir photograph from Korea’s first astronaut, Yi So-yeon, at Google’s headquarters in Seoul on June 19. [JoongAng Ilbo]
Google Korea recently launched a new program that can translate 24 languages, including Korean, Russian, Arabic and Spanish, according to Google Vice President Vinton Cerf.

At an exclusive event organized by the JoongAng Ilbo, Cerf, often dubbed the father of the Internet, discussed Google’s translation program with Yi So-yeon, Korea’s first astronaut, at Google’s local headquarters in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul, on June 19.

Cerf said Google wants its translation service to help people overcome language barriers so they can access a greater amount of information online.

“Google is very interested in improving natural language translation. The most important thing in translation is getting syntax and grammar right. A long time ago, someone tried to translate ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ from English into Russian, and it came back ‘invisible idiot.’ That gave us an important lesson,” said Cerf.

During the meeting, Cerf, who was involved in developing the precursor to the Internet in 1969 called Arpanet, and Yi talked about Internet use in outer space, online anonymity, the current shortage of IP addresses and the digital divide.

Yi said she is worried that only 20 percent of the world’s population have access to the Internet in a world where many countries depend on cyberspace for economic activities.

Cerf said, however, that more people will go online using phones, as the mobile phone population is estimated at around 3 billion across the world.


By Sung So-young Staff Reporter [so@joongang.co.kr]



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