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Google Translate Works When You Stick with It

by Keith Gatling | 9 months ago

I was doing a little research on the statue of The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, when I saw an interesting citation from the German magazine Der Speigel. Now, I had three years of German in high school, but that was 47 years ago, and my German is rusty to the point of metal fatigue. However, knowing how sometimes the websites of major foreign magazines give you an English translation, I decided to take a chance and see if they were one of them.

They weren’t.

But I really wanted to read the article.

Then I remembered about Google Translate, the service that translates anything you put into it from one language to another...and no, Klingon is not an option. I decided to see if it could translate this German website into English for me.

The answer is yes and no and yes.

First of all, at the most basic level, it’s possible to type or paste a snippet of text in on one side and have it translated on the other side. And it does a fairly decent job at it. One of my favorite tricks Is to enter the Gettysburg Address on one side in English, have it translated into another language, and then have it translated back into English, just to see how good a job it does. It doesn’t bring it back word for word to the original English version, but it gets the idea across, and that’s pretty darn good.

But I also seemed to recall that it was possible to have Google Translate take on an entire webpage. It was. All you had to do was paste in the full URL of the website, and say what language you wanted it translated into.

But for some technical reason having to do with how that particular webpage was designed, it couldn’t do it for me.

But...when that didn’t work for me, I decided to copy and paste the entire text of the article in and have Google translate that into English for me.

Worked like a charm, and I was able to read the whole article in a language I understand.