How to Start Using Google Language Tools
Found In: Tools
As part of Google’s corporate culture, which has been crafted by the cofounders Brin and Page to bring out the best of the innovation and creativity of its brain pool, all employees are free and encouraged to spend twenty per cent of their working time progressing their own personal projects. These projects are not required to have any commercial potential; they simply must be of the highest interest to the employee and in some way be beneficial to people if they do reach public release. This has spawned a large array of Google Apps covering a vast range of productivity tools for people to use, all of which are free.
Given Google’s rapid expansion across the world with its search engine technology, one of the most important issues it was always going to face was the diverse languages of many web sites. As such, it is no surprise that Google has developed a range of Language Tools to help people to navigate the language barriers.
Google Language Tools via their Web Page
One of the most popular of the Google Language Tools is its translation web page. Users copy and paste what they want translated into the box on the left hand side, select which language they want it translated to and the results are presented on the right. Of course, because of the complex nature of all languages, where many words have multiple meanings and ways to spell them it is rare to find the perfect result. The problem is that Google’s translate web page does not understand the context of what is being translated. All it can do is translate the text word by word, by assuming a default meaning for each word. The result however is useful enough to understand the general meaning of the text you need translating.
When using the translation web page to convert your own text to another language, in order to get the most accurate translation, it is best to work with short sentences. By keeping the sentence structure as simple as possible, you are giving Google Translate the best chance to get it correct. Also, depending on how important it is for your work to be accurately translated, it is a great idea to take the translated result and to put it back in the left hand side to translate it back to the original text. By doing this, you can find out how accurately the translation has been done.
Google Translator Toolkit is for Professionals
While the Google Translate web page is useful, it is still a machine translation service. As an aid to professional translators, Google introduced its Google Translator Toolkit. This service is special because after it has done the initial machine translation, it makes it easy for the human translator to correct the outcome to make it perfect. And with the click of a button, the new and corrected version is immediately published ready for the user to begin the next page to translate. One of the really cool parts of the tool kit is that it remembers the previous corrections the user has made, and it incorporates these into subsequent machine translations. As the user builds up a larger portfolio of completed work, the additional machine translations become ever-more closer to being accurate in the first pass.
The Google Translator Toolkit has been integrated with Wikipedia for ease of translating its huge resource of web pages. It is also now integrated Annotum, which is a content publishing platform based on the WordPress blogging content management system. Integration with a growing number of editing and publishing tools is planned and over time we can expect most content management systems to have language translation as part of their core functionality. This of course is great news for the sharing of information across cultural boundaries, helping to unite the world’s people.
Google Language Tools Includes Translation Memory
And added area of excitement is the rapidly growing Translation Memory database. All the human translations that are made to correct machine translations performed with Google Translation tools are saved to a master database. When future machine translations are performed, they are done by checking the database of human translations to determine if there is a better translation available for the sentence. This again goes to the value why short sentences are better to work with. All people can read short sentences more easily, plus it is more likely to find a human translation in the Google Translate Memory database.
Google Language Tools Have an API and Toolbar
In further support of the google initiative to bridge the language divide that currently prevents totally open access to the world’s information, Google have released version 2 of its Google translate API (Application Programming Interface). The purpose of the API is so that software developers can build applications or web applications that will integrate with Google (by means of the API) to automatically perform language translations. This is one of the very few paid for services, and costs twenty dollars per one million characters translated. Discounts are available for very large translation volumes.
To make all your translation work easier Google’s translation service is accessible from the Google Toolbar. It’s free to download the toolbar, and when you run the program, it will install itself as part of your favorite web browser. This is prefect for one button click to translate entire web pages as you come across them from time to time. This is particularly useful given the millions of highly educated Chinese and Indians now routinely publishing the result of their research.
It is also great for quickly working out how to translate individual words by simply moving the mouse pointer over the word in question. Word Translate understands what you need translating, and you can set it up to translate to your default languages you want them translated to. Professional translators often use this function to help them to understand more difficult words they are not familiar with.