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Google Translate
Google Translate logo.png
Google Translate.PNG
Type of site translation
Registration no
Owner Google
Created by Google
Current status Active

Google Translate is a service provided by Google Inc. to translate a section of text, or a webpage, into another language. The service limits the number of paragraphs, or range of technical terms, that will be translated. It is also possible to enter searches in a source language that are first translated to a destination language allowing you to browse and interpret results from the selected destination language in the source language. [1] For some languages, users are asked for alternate translations such as for technical terms, to be included for future updates to the translation process. Text in a foreign language can be typed, and if "Detect Language" is selected, it will not only detect the language, but it will translate into English by default.

Unlike other translation services such as Babel Fish, AOL, and Yahoo which use SYSTRAN, Google uses its own translation software. Some say that this could lead to a revolution in modern language industry.[2]

Google Translate, like other automatic translation tools, has its limitations. While it can help the reader to understand the general content of a foreign language text, it does not always deliver accurate translations. Some languages produce better results than others.[citation needed]

It does not apply grammatical rules, since its algorithms are based on statistical analysis rather than traditional rule-based analysis.[3]

Languages written in Devanagari or the Arabic script and its variants can be transliterated automatically from phonetic equivalents written in the Latin alphabet.



Google translate is based on an approach called statistical machine translation, and more specifically, on research by Franz-Josef Och who won the DARPA contest for speed machine translation in 2003. Och is now the head of Google's machine translation department.

According to Och,[4] a solid base for developing a usable statistical machine translation system for a new pair of languages from scratch, would consist in having a bilingual text corpus (or parallel collection) of more than a million words and two monolingual corpora of each more than a billion words. Statistical models from this data are then used to translate between those languages.

To acquire this huge amount of linguistic data, Google used United Nations documents. [5] The same document is normally available in all six official UN languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish), thus Google now has a 6-language corpus of 20 billion words' worth of human translations.[citation needed]

The availability of Arabic and Chinese as official UN languages is probably one of the reasons why Google Translate initially focused on the development of translation between English and those languages, and not, for example, Japanese and German, which are not official languages at the UN.

Google representatives have been very active at domestic conferences in Japan in the field asking researchers to provide them with bilingual corpora.[6]


(by chronological order)

  • 1st stage
  • French to English
  • German to English
  • Spanish to English
  • 2nd stage
    • English to Portuguese
    • Portuguese to English
    • English to Dutch
    • Dutch to English
  • 3rd stage
    • English to Italian
    • Italian to English
  • 4th stage
  • Chinese (Simplified) to English
  • Japanese to English
  • Korean to English
  • 5th stage (launched December 2006)
    • English to Russian
    • Russian to English
  • 6th stage (launched April 2007)
    • English to Arabic
    • Arabic to English
  • 7th stage (launched February 2007)
  • English to Chinese (Traditional)
  • Chinese (Traditional) to English
  • Chinese (Simplified to Traditional)
  • Chinese (Traditional to Simplified)
  • 8th stage (launched October 2007)
    • all 25 language pairs use Google's machine translation system
  • 9th stage
    • English to Hindi
    • Hindi to English
  • 10th stage (as of this stage, translation can be done between any two languages, going through English, if needed) (launched May 2008)
  • 11th stage (launched September 25, 2008)
  • 12th stage (launched January 30, 2009)
  • 13th stage (launched June 19, 2009)
  • 14th stage (launched August 24, 2009)
  • 15th stage (launched November 19, 2009)
    • The Beta stage is finished. Users can now choose to have the romanization written for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Greek, Hindi and Thai. For translations from Arabic, Persian and Hindi, the user can enter a Latin transliteration of the text and the text will be translated to the native script for these languages as the user is writing. The text can now be read by a text-to-speech program in English.
  • 16th stage (launched January 30, 2010)

Language Codes

Country name Language code
Afrikaans af
Albanian sq
Arabic ar
Belarusian be
Bulgarian bg
Catalan ca
Chinese (Simplified) zh-CN
Chinese (Traditional) zh-TW
Croatian hr
Czech cs
Danish da
Dutch nl
English en
Estonian et
Filipino (Tagalog) tl
Finnish fi
French fr
Galician gl
German de
Greek el
Haitian Creole ht
Hebrew iw
Hindi hi
Hungarian hu
Icelandic is
Indonesian id
Irish ga
Italian it
Japanese ja
Korean ko
Latvian lv
Lithuanian lt
Macedonian mk
Malay ms
Maltese mt
Norwegian no
Persian fa
Polish pl
Portuguese pt
Romanian ro
Russian ru
Serbian sr
Slovak sk
Slovenian sl
Spanish es
Swahili sw
Swedish sv
Thai th
Turkish tr
Ukrainian uk
Vietnamese vi
Welsh cy
Yiddish yi

Browser integration

A number of Firefox extensions exist for Google services, and likewise for Google Translate, which allow right-click command access to the translation service. [7]


  1. ^ "Google Translate". Google. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  2. ^ Google shakes up the translation memory scene
  3. ^ Franz-Josef Och confirmed this during his keynote speech at the MT Summit 2005, stating that "We do not need rules any more."
  4. ^ Keynote speech at the Machine Translation Summit 2005
  5. ^ Google seeks world of instant translations (Reuters)
  6. ^ Google was an official sponsor of the annual Computational Linguistics in Japan Conference ("Gengoshorigakkai") in 2007. Google also sent a delegate from its headquarters to the meeting of the members of the Computational Linguistic Society of Japan in March 2005, promising funding to researchers who would be willing to share text data.
  7. ^ "Search Add-ons :: Add-ons for Firefox". Mozilla. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 

See also

External links



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