Google Translate Blog
The official source for news on Google's translation technologies
An experiment in cross-language communication with the BBC
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Earlier this month BBC
launched an experiment
using Google Translate to faciliate real-time discussion across languages. The project was part of the BBC’s
which explored the transformative power of the internet. On SuperPower Nation Day, BBC readers from around the world were invited to discuss the Nation Day event online--and have their comments translated live for others to read.
The initiative used Google Translate to translate comments between seven languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, Persian, Indonesian, Portugese, and Spanish. While the translations were not perfect, most users were surprised by how well Google Translate enabled people from around the world to communicate with one another.
“Acredito que isto pode dar certo!” wrote Nathana from Brazil in one of the comments--or, as translated by Google Translate, “I believe this can work!”
While a few of the translations looked strange at first glance, most users found them intelligible and useful. For example one user’s comment was translated from Persian into, “World, the village is small. We all need each other to help maintain the world.” As you can see, not perfect, but understandable.
This experiment is a good example of how Google Translate can be used to help people of different languages communicate with one another. While there is still a long way to go in improving Google’s translation technology, we hope and expect to see projects like the BBC’s SuperPower Nation Day become more and more common--and as the opportunities arise we look forward to making our contribution with Google Translate.
Posted by Jeff Chin, Product Manager
Translating Youtube with auto-captioning
Monday, March 22, 2010
We recently mentioned on the
official Youtube blog
that we were enabling auto-captioning for all Youtube videos. This new technology takes advantage of Google’s speech-to-text algorithms to add captions to videos with spoken English content. Captions have clear benefits for the hearing impaired, but there is another benefit which is worth noting: translation.
As you know, Google Translate can already translate between any of our 52 supported languages, whether the text is a word, paragraph or website. With this new advancement in Youtube’s technology we can now add “captions” to that list as well.
Currently Youtube’s auto-captioning technology can only transcribe spoken English but, thanks to Google Translate, these English captions can be translated for non-English speakers as well. Check out the caption and translation technology in this video of
Barack Obama speaking to students
author Elizabeth Gilbert speaking at TED
. Hover over the “caption” icon and select “Translate Captions” to activate the translations.
Both the auto-captioning and translation technologies are generated by machines, so there are still plenty of situations where mistakes will occur. Furthermore, when these technologies work together, mistakes can be amplified so you may find some captions that don’t make much sense. We know there is a lot of room to improve both technologies, but we feel that offering this translation feature is an important step in making information on Youtube more accessible.
In the next few months we expect over 150,000 Youtube channels to implement auto-captioning with translation. This is just the beginning and we hope that all Youtube content will soon be enjoyed by all Youtube users, regardless of what language they speak.
Posted by Andrew Gomez, Associate Product Marketing Manager
A faster, simpler, and safer browser goes polyglot
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
If you're excited about the latest in integrating translation tools into your web experience, today's
new stable release
brings to our users translation capabilities in the web browser. Here's quick demo on how the translation feature works in Chrome:
When the language of the webpage you're viewing is different from your
preferred language setting
, Chrome will display an infobar asking if you'd like the page to be translated for you, using
. With just a click, the entire text on the page will be translated into your language of preference, without the need for browser extensions or plugins. If you don't want Chrome to offer to translate a particular language or web page, you can control these settings by clicking on the "Options" button in the infobar.
So how does the browser actually 'know' what language the page is in? Language detection takes place locally on your computer, so no information is sent to Google Translate until you choose to translate a page. Language detection in Chrome is based on the compact language detection library (CLD), which we've made available as
open source code
For those of you who are interested in the technical nitty-gritty, here's what takes place under the hood: for most languages, the CLD determines the language of a page by breaking down its text in quadgrams, or sequences of up to four characters. The CLD then looks up each quadgram in a large hashtable that contains language probabilities, which is included in the Chrome binaries. This hashtable was originally built by processing language probabilities over billions of web pages that are indexed by Google's search engine. In just a few milliseconds, the CLD can accurately determine the language of most web pages. Chrome shows an infobar offering to translate the page only when the CLD has detected the language of a web page above a certain degree of confidence. If you click the "Translate" button in the infobar, the text contained in the page is then sent to Google Translate's servers (over a secure connection if the page was served over HTTPS). Thanks to the work of the Google Translate team, Google Translate's servers return this translated text quickly so that Chrome can replace the text in the page with the translated version. Rest assured, the request to Google Translate's servers does not include any cookies.
We're excited to introduce translation in the browser, and look forward to improving this feature over future releases of Chrome. For example, we hope to work on include making language detection even more precise -- by providing larger CLD tables without increasing the size of the browser's installation package, and improving the way Chrome interacts with other website translation tools.
With this new stable release of Chrome, you can easily read a diversity of foreign language information sources, access educational materials from universities around the world, and even conduct online commerce across borders and languages -- all in your native language. We hope that the browser can truly be a passport to a web that is remarkably local as it is global. You can try translation in the browser for yourself by downloading Google Chrome at
. For those of you who aren't yet acquainted with Chrome, you can
, and many other
Posted by Jay Civelli, Software Engineer, Google Chrome
Custom search and data liberation in Translator Toolkit
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Yesterday, we released some cool, new features in
Google Translator Toolkit
. Google Translator Toolkit is a language translation service for professional and amateur translators that builds on
and makes translation
faster and easier
Custom search, which enables you to search for terms in your
Translation memory download, which enables advanced users to download their translation memories in
TMX (Translation Memory eXchange) format
Glossary download, which enables you to download your glossaries as
CSV (comma-separated value) files
For example, if you’re translating “drive” into Spanish, a custom search finds the translations “Ordanor flash” for “Flash drive” and “canon viajes en coche” for “self-drive canyon tours”, so you can pick just the right word for your translation context.
To clarify where the translations come from, we’ve added the name of the translation memory next to the translation search results – whether it’s our global, shared translation memory, another user’s shared translation memory (if that TM is public, or shared with you), or your own translations.
We’ve also made some changes to make it even easier to use the translation editor: we’ve made the toolkit resizable, and we’ve rearranged the toolkit in
– one tab for custom search and another tab for automated search for the current segment.
But that’s not all. At Google, we believe our users should control the data they store in our products. In keeping with this spirit of
, Translator Toolkit now allows you to download your translation memories and glossaries in simple, standard formats.
So check out these latest improvements and let us know
what you think.
Posted by Siddaarth Shanmugam and Vijay Thadkal, Software Engineers, Translator Toolkit
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