brucebfrench

If I’d thought about it, I would have realized that Google Translate had to exist. It does exactly what you’d expect from an online translator: type in a phrase and it can be translated into another language; type in a web address and it will present the entire page translated into another language. Try it! It’s fun to see your favorite web site in Turkish or Lithuanian.

Google has been updating it frequently with additional languages until now it’s possible to go back and forth between dozens of languages, including a couple of Chinese variations, Japanese and other Asian languages, Hindi, and some Middle Eastern languages.

Google uses a different translation method than other services (it’s “statistically-based machine translation” instead of “SYSTRAN based,” according to Wikipedia – glad to know that!) Of course results can be anywhere from quirky to terribly wrong, but it’s constantly improving and can be quite handy when used with caution.

Worth noting: when you get a translated page, hovering over a section will display a popup showing the original text. (You’ll see it in the picture above.)

If you have an Android phone, don’t overlook the feature in Google Goggles which will take photos of text and give you translations into English – photograph the French menu and avoid ordering Cow Stomach With Cat Smell by accident, say.

I’ve added Google Translate to the bruceb favorites page (your home page, right?) in the “Google” section at the top and the “Travel” section.