Site owners can now amend Google translations

31 May 2012

Google continues to break language barriers with improvements to its Translate service that lets website owners and visitors amend translations.

Google’s website translation tool has proved extremely useful, but a service like this can never be perfect as computers can’t fully grasp the intricacies of language (yet).

However, Google can at least try to improve its translations with the help of website owners and multilingual users.

As of yesterday, Google launched a new beta experiment that will allow website owners to customise and improve the output of the Website Translator, whether it is used on the Google Translate site, from the Google Toolbar, or in Chrome.

To do this, the Website Translator plug-in and a customisation meta tag must be added to a site. Then, when using the Google Translate service, users can hover over a translated sentence, view the original text and click ‘Contribute a better translation’ if they spot an error.

If a correction is made by the website manager, the amended translation will go live immediately, but visitors can contribute suggestions, too, and these will go live when approved by the site’s owner.

Though Google already offers alternative translation by clicking on a word or phrase, there are still innumerable nuances of language that can’t be covered by computers alone. As Google highlights in the example below, this improvement will prove particularly useful when differentiating regular nouns from brand names, so that the latter can remain untranslated. But, really, this development represents a step forward for the translation service overall, towards a more collaborative – and accurate – future.

Google Translate - Suggest correction

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.