Google Blogoscoped

Sunday, November 12, 2006

New Language (Announcement From 2009)

Today I added a new language to Google Blogoscoped: Spanish. The existing languages, as you may know, can be found at,, and

As with the other blogs, the new Spanish one will also be automatically translated with the terrific Google Translation API. Several native speakers/ readers have told me the translations are absolutely fluent, except for the occasional weirdness due to cultural differences, or some very rare grammar hiccups. As opposed to those of you who have blogs at Blogspot and use the Blogger Translate Behind the Scenes option, I had to hand-code the Google Translation API connector here, but it was relatively easy thanks to the PHP 7 samples provided by Google.

Also, I’ve decided to write individual blog posts in German now, which is my native tongue. This means that what you read here will now be a second-hand translation via Google, but don’t worry – you won’t notice. Posts in all languages will appear roughly 15 seconds after being posted in German. In fact if you’re reading this post in any language other than German, you’re already reading the translation.

The forum continues to be multi-lingual, as this was also working well for the past year. This means whenever you comment in any language, your comment will be instantly API-translated into all the other languages. E.g. when you comment in French, your comment will appear in Dutch, German, English and so on. (A small language indicator will show the source language, but just for reference.) Should a comment be removed for any reason – e.g. when it’s spam – the other versions will of course also be removed.

Now, I know some of you still have reservations when it comes to auto-translations... arguing the “soul” of an article becomes diluted, feeling that you’re looking at hollow “secondary”, automated texts (thanks to a Google feature which put millions of human translators out of jobs, too, and decreased the incentive for people to learn a second language). Others still call these kind of blogs autrasplogs (a horrible Web 4.0 acronym, if I may say so, for auto translated spam blogs), because they add multiple versions of a page to search results of Google, Yahoo and JeevesIsBack. But bear in mind that books have been translated for ages and this finally gives everyone on the web the chance to read everything, even without using the Auto Translator feature of the Google Toolbar or the Google web search, and it also works across all search engines, not just Google.

On a side-note, Google added 3 new features to the Translator API yesterday: the ability to avoid accidental trademarks in translations (e.g. the German “Apfel” will be translated to “green fruit” instead of “apple”), an option to use existing translations of quotations instead of creating new ones (should existing translations exist, that is, e.g. when you quote an old philosopher), and a new option to turn the spellchecker off if preferred. It’s still annoying that you can’t use the word “Google” as lower-case verb in your posts which you want to have translated, and that Google will always insert ads into translations, but after all, the Translator API is free, and this may just be one of the necessary side-effects of living in a Googleworld.


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