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Google Translate is growing up

What began as just another “gisting” application — like Babel Fish — is gradually becoming an impressive translation tool. And I’m not referring to the quality of translation, though that is improving as well.

I’m referring to the breadth of languages and breadth of features that Google Translate supports.

Today, Google announced that Google Translate added support for ten more languages, bringing the total to 23. The ten new languages are Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian and Swedish.

And that’s not all!

Google Translate also now provides a detect language tool that will tell what language a batch of text is in. This type of tool can come in awfully handy for people like me who navigate across so many languages on a daily basis. It’s an easy feature for Google to support because the translation engine needs to know what the source language is before translating it. But I also tested language detect on a few languages not yet supported for translation, such as Slovakian, and the engine correctly identified them.

A week ago, I integrated Google Translate into the home page of Byte Level:

Google Translate on Byte Level Research

When it comes to translation, I’m not a good example of “putting my money where my mouth is.” Byte Level Research, with the exception of the Tower of Babel site, has been available only in English for years.

While I have no illusions that this widget will make up for a lack of professionally translated text, I am curious to see if people use it and to what extent. What I need to know is if Google Analytics can track Google Translate widget usage so I can know which languages are most popular. If anyone knows how to set this up, please contact me.

And, if nothing else, it’s an interesting experiment — and it buys me time before having to shell out real money for professional translation, which I will ultimately need to do.

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John Yunker
John is co-founder of Byte Level Research and author of . He has published 14 annual editions of The Web Globalization Report Card and is also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.
John Yunker
John Yunker

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10 thoughts on “Google Translate is growing up

  1. “What I need to know is if Google Analytics can track Google Translate widget usage so I can know which languages are most popular. If anyone knows how to set this up, please contact me.”

    I havent seen the code for the widget but if you can edit it then you can probably add some extra code to inform googleanaltyics. On the google analytics site they explain how to set up these kind of custom links (its a bit of javascript code you add in).

    Otherwise, just post the results of the form to a intermediate page (using php or something) that auto-redirects to google. In your php code you can also collect simple stats on what lang was posted each time.

  2. Thanks Zac — I’m not sure if the Google Translate module can be modified, but I do need to migrate to the new Analytics code.

    1. “What I need to know is if Google Analytics can track Google Translate widget usage so I can know which languages are most popular. If anyone knows how to set this up, please contact me.”

      Hi John, your initial question is the exact same need I have right now. I was wondering if you ever found a solution?

      Thanks.

      1. No I didn’t. And without it it’s difficult to know for sure if the widget is getting usage.

  3. Hey–I came back to your site to show my colleagues that machine translation was becoming useful enough to warrant another try as evidenced by your use of the Google translate widget. Lo and behold! I’m not seeing it on your site anymore. Why did you remove it?

  4. Hi Debra,
    I just added a new widget that leverages Google translate but also provides local-language feeds. It’s the awkwardly named “Mloovi” widget on the right. Please let me know what you think…
    JY

  5. “What I need to know is if Google Analytics can track Google Translate widget usage so I can know which languages are most popular. If anyone knows how to set this up, please contact me.”

    You solve this problem? Resolving now the same thing and so I was wondering if you found something new?

    Thx

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