Posted October 1, 2009 12:46 pm by with 12 comments

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Google has long been working on their machine translation offerings. Over last year, they’ve added translation services to Google Reader, Google Toolbar, and Google Docs. And now they’re bringing their translation skillz to you—on your website.

Google announced a new translation widget on Monday, bringing Google Translate to any site. Insert a short script—a mere snippet of code—and users visiting your site will be prompted to translate it into their own language:



Google acknowledges that there are some limitations to their power translations:

Automatic translation is convenient and helps people get a quick gist of the page. However, it’s not a perfect substitute for the art of professional translation.

Thank you for your humility, Google (even though in our tests, we’ve seen that sometimes we can’t even get the gist of the translated text). Fifty-one languages are available in Google Translate.

What do you think? Will you use Google Translate for your site? Do you use any other translation products?

  • Nifty! Good point that this doesn’t quite replace professional translations, you’re exactly right. It’s nice, though, being able to provide 51 different languages an “idea” of what the page is about for many projects.

    Thanks for sharing!
    .-= Shane Eubanks´s last blog ..Build a Better Blog in 31 Days =-.

  • Paulo Diaz

    Well, I honestly do not believe this is a “great” feature since most of the time all those automatic translations end up being really funny jokes. Good tool for helping us translating weird languages into english but since those asian languages – for example- use signs instead of an alphabet, I would not take the risk to use it in depth………who knows, maybe when I thought I was accessing a technology forum in tokio, I was in fact discussing the top sushi chef?? =)

  • Very good news : )

  • I’ve tried automated Web page translation on more than one project and the most recent project tested Google Translate.

    You end up with gibberish in a lot of cases. I would strongly advise people NOT to use this.

  • Hi Jordan,

    I do understand that real life sentences are pretty hard to translate automatically. But, I have found good result by using the Google text translate tool from single verb simple sentences.

    Other good ones are: Yahoo Babelfish (It amazed a Japanese coleague of mine), WorldLingo (I personally like it), Applied Language Traslation Tool, and 1-800-Translate Tool. Google them.

    Asif Anwar.

  • As long as the translation is pretty accurate, I think this is a great tool. Thanks for sharing!

  • Its really great feature they have introduce. Thanks for info

  • Both you and Google make an important point about accuracy. How does the translation actually read to a speaker of that language?

    Presumably the translation is handled by the same engine as the actual Google Translate website. I recently blogged about this kind of machine translation at “Making Sense” ( and, more importantly, its dangers. It can be great for getting the gist of something but, as you say, is also often way off beam. And forcing yourself to write English in simple “Subject Verb Object” sentences seems to lack panache.

    If a user runs your website through Google translate, they know its at their own risk. If you have “provided” a translation, aren’t you more responsible for what it says? As Bing Translator warns you every time you use it: “Automatic translation can help you understand the gist of the translated text but is no substitute for a professional human translator.”

    And, unless you speak the target language, how do you know if your website is being rendered in perfect prose or as unintelligible gibberish? If you care about what “you” are saying in translation, you’re still best off sticking to a human translator.
    .-= Jim Making Sense´s last blog ..European Day of Languages 2009 =-.

  • Personally I don’t like this tool at all. The translations are a not good and they hardly make any sense.

    Sure, if you compare it with other translaters and automatic article re-writers, you’ll find out that it’s probably the best one. But still, it’s far from perfect.

    Anyway, if they keep working on it, it might become a very useful tool.

    .-= Johnny A´s last blog ..Automated Income Streams… Possible Or Impossible? =-.

  • jiminy crikcyt

    ive embedded the widget in my site, but all i get is the following error

    “Error: The server could not complete your request. ” 🙁

  • raluca

    Machine translation is supposed to be the next best thing.
    The tool Google has is still perfecting itself, and due to the fact that most of the time the digital content we find on the world wide web IS gibberish and not really accurate as for grammar, phrase structure or writing, it would be a little too much to ask a machine to anticipate the errors made by us humans while speaking, and produce accurate translation.

    I agree to everyone saying that it is not perfect.
    In fact, it is quite far from being perfect, but as the machine translation system works with parallel bilingual data, from which it learns to compare and structure a language pair, the cleaner (correct accurate, grammatical) data we supply, the better it becomes.
    And anyway, you would still use post-editing for the translation where it is required, as for example in technical documents, it’s safer to have humans review the content.
    Because it’s free it’s not satisfactory, but you would definitely find companies in the field that offer this Product to INTEL,DELL, or THE GOVERNMENTS. (see eg. Language Weaver, Systran)

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