Accessing Language Translation Web Services in Plain English | WebReference

Accessing Language Translation Web Services in Plain English

By Rob Gravelle


Several translation software and search engine companies produce free automated language translation services. An extension of Machine Translation (MT) applications, this new breed of web-based translation services and tools promise impressive results. In my previous article, "Are Google's Language Translation Web Services Ready for Prime Time?, " I used Google's Language Translation services as the test subject for an examination of how well web-based translation services and tools deliver on those impressive results they promise. In the process, I learned about some of its many features, including document translation, translated search, and the Google Translator Toolkit. In this article, I get into the web site translator widget, the Word Translator tool, 1-click translations, and my personal favorite, more.

The Tools and Resources Page

The last page of the Google Translate site is the Tools and Resources page. It contains some widgets and shortcuts to instant, automated translation of web pages.

Web site Translator

One way to grant your visitors access to Google's translation services is to include the Google translator widget in your page. It's a compact dropdown list with a text plug for Google under it. To add it to your web page, simply copy and paste a code snippet into your document source where you want the widget to be displayed. Strong points include a customizable language list and script code that is a mere seven lines long! Here is a screen shot of the widget:

Figure 1: Google Translate Widget

Word Translator

The Word Translator is a feature of the Google Toolbar. It's a feature that displays translations of a single word in the tooltip (a small hover box that appears with information about an item). You just pause the mouse pointer over a word, and the Word Translator displays the word in the language of your choice:

Figure 2: Google Word Translator

Here's how to enable it. On the Options dialog, there is a checkbox to activate the Word Translator:

Figure 3: Google Translator Settings

Clicking on the Translator Settings... button brings up the WordTranslator Settings dialog, where you can select which language you'd like text translated into:

Figure 4: Google Word Translator Settings Dialog

And that's all there is to it. You can now receive translations for any word on demand.

Get 1-click Translations

Google's translation services allow you to get translations with a single click via a regular link. You can also translate part of a page by selecting the text before clicking the link. I found it especially useful to add it as a button on the Links toolbar in Internet Explorer.

At the bottom of the Tools and Resources page are a number of language links. Right-click on a link and select Add to Favorites from the popup menu to add it to your Favorites folder:

Figure 5: Add to Favorites Popup Menu

To move the link to the Links toolbar in IE:

  • Right-click anywhere in an empty toolbar (the right of the Help menu is a good spot), if the Links toolbar is not already visible.
  • Select the Links item from the popup menu:

Figure 6: Show Links Toolbar in IE

  • When the Links toolbar is available, open the Favorites menu and drag the Language link to the Links toolbar. That will place it as a button on the toolbar. Now you can translate the page with a click of the mouse!

Figure 7: Translate to French Toolbar Link

The procedure may differ for other browsers.