Google Sites 1-Click Translation Points to Google's Goal

The newly added one-click translation feature of the Google Sites wiki application lets visitors automatically translate site content. There have been many areas of focus for Google in 2009, but the new translation features underscore how Google is really putting Google Translate to the test. If Google can infuse machine translation across its Web services, it will open up its online ad opportunities.

Google Dec. 17 integrated its Google Translate Element into the Google Sites wiki application to let visitors translate site content with one click.

Once Website creators add the Translate Element code, whenever people visit a Google Site and find it is in an unfamiliar language they may translate the content into the language of their choice.

Users can click on the translate link at the bottom right side of the page, said Google Sites Software Engineer Michael Cheng.

Google offered these before and after screenshots of how people used the Translate Element to translate a Korean school's Website to English.

There have been many areas of focus for Google in 2009, from enhancing search with real-time results to sprucing up Google Maps with Place Pages and other layers.

But another important, albeit underwhelming, area in which Google has cranked up its innovation engine has been its machine translation capabilities.

Taken in total, these moves are designed to make Google more universally usable. And the more people who use Google, the more ads Google can serve them. Here are some of the ways Google has ramped up its translation capabilities in the last few months.

In October, Google released a Website translator gadget to help developers render their site content in 51 languages; an in-page translation capability for the new version of Google Toolbar for Firefox; and translation and language detection capabilities for Google Docs spreadsheets.

In November, Google revamped Google Translate with instant translation, read/write accessibility for some languages written in non-Roman characters and scripts, and text to speech.

Earlier in December, Google added translation capabilities as one of the Search Options for its core search engine. When users do a search and click on the Search Options panel at the top of the page, they'll see an option for translated search under the standard results section.

These new translation features underscore how Google is really putting Google Translate to the test, but this will be a long, long process.

There are thousands of languages around the world and every language has its own quirks and nuances that distinguish it from the others. No one, not even Google, will claim that its translation tools are perfect, but they are improving.

Machine translation is a global challenge, one that a Web service provider such as Google must tackle if it wants to broaden its audience and serve more ads.