Are Google's Language Translation Web Services Ready for Prime Time? | 2 | WebReference

Are Google's Language Translation Web Services Ready for Prime Time? | 2


Are Google's Language Translation Web Services Ready for Prime Time? [con't]

Translated Search

The Translated Search page adds language translation to Google's renowned search engine. Search queries are translated into your selected language to find web page results in that language. The results are then translated back into your own language. The original search results are displayed along with the translated ones for comparison:

Image 2: Google Search Results

Google Translator Toolkit

The Google Translator Toolkit is a powerful and easy-to-use editor for translating documents and web pages. All you need to do is sign up with Google to gain access to it. I found it especially useful for reviewing and polishing up web content. The translations were quite accurate for the most part, but the document still required a few minor edits here and there. The following image shows the editor interface:

Image 3: Google Translator Toolkit Editor

In the above paragraph, I removed the "je" word—French for "I"—which should not have been added because the sentence refers to me in the third person.

The Translator Toolkit also provides a management screen for organizing your documents:

Image 4: Google Translator Toolkit Document Manager

Evaluating Translation Web Services

One of the main hurdles to achieving accurate translations is the fact that communication in human language is context-embedded; hence, it really takes a person to comprehend the context of the original text with a reasonable degree of precision. Having said that, it should be noted that even purely human-generated translations are prone to error! Professional translation services are useful for retaining the exact meaning when translating from one specific language to another.

Another limitation, which is inherent to all automated web translation services, is that images cannot be translated. This is a lesson in the Web 2.0 world that we inhabit that straight text is preferable to images, even if it means sacrificing appearance to some degree. That might be food for thought for local businesses like restaurants, which rely heavily on visual flair to help attract visitors to their sites. Many restaurant sites like the one below, which use Flash, are unreadable by web-based translation services:

Image 5: Bearfoot Bistro Home Page

Most web sites would probably benefit tremendously from web services, but when it's crucial to retain a high accuracy of content, translation services have the edge.

The next installment will cover the Google translator widget, Word Translator, and Get 1-click Translations of the Tools and Resources component. It will also include a treat called "Fun with Automated Translations".

Have a suggestion for an article topic? Do you have a product or service that you'd like reviewed? Email it to Rob .

Rob Gravelle combined his love of programming and music to become a software guru and accomplished guitar player. He created systems that are used by Canada Border Services, CSIS and other Intelligence-related organizations. As a software consultant, Rob has developed Web applications for many businesses and recently created a MooTools version of PHPFreechat for ViziMetrics. Musically, Rob recently embarked on a solo music career, after playing with Ivory Knight since 2000. That band was rated as one Canada's top bands by Brave Words magazine (issue #92) and released two CDs. Rob's latest, entitled KNIGHTFALL, was a collaboration between himself, the former Ivory Knight vocalist, and legendary guitarist/producer, Jeff Waters of Annihilator fame. Rob is available for short-term software projects and recording session work. to inquire, but note that, due to the volume of emails received, he cannot respond to every email. Potential jobs and praise receive highest priority!

Original: March 12, 2010