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Monday, August 4, 2008

Google Translate Beta

What is "automatic translation"?

It's translation produced by state-of-the-art technology, without the intervention of human translators. Automatic translation is also often referred to as machine translation.

Has Google developed its own translation software?

Yes. Google's research group has developed its own statistical translation system for the language pairs now available on Google Translate.

What is statistical machine translation?

Most state-of-the-art, commercial machine-translation systems in use today have been developed using a rule-based approach, and require a lot of work to define vocabularies and grammars.

Our system takes a different approach: we feed the computer billions of words of text, both monolingual text in the target language, and aligned text consisting of examples of human translations between the languages. We then apply statistical learning techniques to build a translation model. We've achieved very good results in research evaluations.

The translation quality isn't as good as I'd like it to be. Can you make it more accurate?

We're constantly working on it. Even today's most sophisticated software, however, doesn't approach the fluency of a native speaker or possess the skill of a professional translator. Automatic translation is very difficult, as the meaning of words depends on the context in which they're used. While we are working on the problem, it may be some time before anyone can offer human quality translations. In the interim, we hope you find the service we provide useful for most purposes.

What languages can be translated?

Currently, Google offers translations between the following languages:

  • Arabic

  • Bulgarian

  • Chinese (Simplified)

  • Chinese (Traditional)

  • Croatian

  • Czech

  • Danish

  • Dutch

  • Finnish

  • French

  • German

  • Greek

  • Hindi

  • Italian

  • Korean

  • Japanese

  • Norwegian

  • Polish

  • Romanian

  • Russian

  • Spanish

  • Swedish

  • Portuguese

What does "Detect language" mean?

The "Detect language" option automatically determines the language of the text you are translating. The accuracy of the automatic language detection increases with the amount of text entered.

When will you support additional languages for translation?

We're working to support other languages and will introduce them as soon as the automatic translation meets our standards. It's difficult to project how long this will take, as the problem is complex and each language presents its own unique challenges.

Text and Web Translation

What does the "Translate this page" link next to a search result mean?

It means you can translate that particular page into your search language. For example, if you conduct a search in your language and see a result in another language with a "Translate this page" link next to it, you can click on the link and Google will automatically translate the page into your language.

To return to the original version of the page, you can simply click the "view original web page" link in the top frame of the translated page, or go back to the Google results page and click on the large blue text link at the top of your selected search result.

Why don't all the results in translatable languages have the "Translate this page" link?

We only display the "Translate this page" link when we're certain about the language of the selected page. Some results pages may contain multiple languages or insufficient text to provide a high degree of certainty about the language in which they were written.

What do I do if I don't want my webpage to be translated?

If you prefer not have your page translated by Google Translate, just insert the following meta tag into your HTML file:

meta name="google" value="notranslate">

What does the "suggest a better translation" link mean?

Just click this link and you can quickly and easily suggest a better translation, to help us improve translation quality. A text area pre-populated with the original translation will be shown, where you can edit the translation and then contribute your suggestion to Google (by clicking "Contribute").

Translated Search

How do I search websites in other languages?

Just click the "Translated Search" tab, then:

1.Type one or more search terms into the search box.
2. Select the language of your search term in the "My language" dropdown.
3. Select the language of the websites you'd like to search.
4. Hit the Enter key or click on the search button.

The translated search results will be displayed in the left column of the page; the original search results will be displayed in the right column.

How does searching websites in other languages work?

When you perform a search, Google technology:

1. Translates your query from the language selected in the "My language" dropdown to the language selected in the "Search pages written in" dropdown.
2. Performs a search using the translated query.
3. Translates the search results back into the language in the "My Language" dropdown.

When you click on a translated result (a result in the left column), you'll be taken to an automatically translated version of the page.

What if the translation of my search term isn't quite right?

If you know the translation of your search term isn't quite right, just click on the "Not quite right? Edit" link to edit the translated search term. Then hit the Enter key or click on the search button to search using the corrected search term.


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