September 30, 2009

Google Translate Widget Takes Sites and Blogs Global

According to my Google Analytics statistics, about 25 percent or more of the visitors to my blog over the last 30 days prefer a language other than English. Given I tend to use more words than pictures, it would be assumed readers would either be multilingual, or that they would take the URL and throw it into a translation service - be it Google Translator or Babel Fish. But today, Google made it even easier for site owners to bring their data to readers in the language of their choice, with the introduction of a new translation widget that, on the fly, without requiring visitors to install anything, displays the content in their preferred tongue.

The New Google Translate Widget In Action

In February, I wrote a post that encouraged people to participate with those discussing your content around the Web in the language of their choice. (See: Don't Speak the Language? You Can Still Participate.) I firmly believe a core tenet of being active in distributed conversations is to have the conversation with the person where they want to. If you can take that up a notch and have that conversation in their native language, then you win. While some may hem and haw about the accuracy of Google Translate, I recognize it's not perfect, but it's very good and improving. Why not make the best effort and get close rather than shying away.

My Blog Following One Pass by Google Translate

The Same Post, This Time In French

To get started as a content owner, just go to Google's Translate gadget, grab the code, and put it anywhere on the page you believe makes sense. Now, if visitors want to see your content in Swahili or Catalan or any of the approximately 50 languages supported, all they need to do is choose the language from the pull-down menu, and it happens on the fly.

It's all part of bringing more of the world's information to more people, while removing barriers. You can see this gadget on the upper right of this blog on every page, and I hope to see it on many pages going forward.