A lot of emphasis in the business world today has been placed on the importance of globalizing your product or service. Well, in order to do that, business owners often look for translation and localization solutions that will help their business reach a global market. These businesses have various options to choose from when deciding how to go about doing this. One of the methods that I have seen advocated at various places online is the use of freely available online translators.
There are many of these translators available from various websites that are easily accessible. However, before describing one of the more popular ones, it's important for business owners to know that these services are not anywhere close to a substitute for a professional translator. So while they will not be useful for translating a contract from English to Spanish, they can be useful to help you understand a gist of a document, or get an idea of what an email contains that someone sent you in another language. One of the more popular online translators is the Google translator.
Google is one of (if not the most) widely-used search engines today. It follows, then, that they would have a language translator available for use because they are a worldwide brand and company. The Google translator can be found at www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en and is also available off of their homepage by clicking on the Language Tools link. Once you arrive at the language page, there are a variety of options that are presented to you. The first is that you can choose to narrow your web search by pages written in a specific language and/or pages located in a certain country. The second language option is the one we are interested in here, the translation box.
The Google Translator gives you the option of either inputting text in a text box, or typing in the URL of a webpage you would like translated. For either of those options, you can choose the language pair and direction you would like your translation to be. So if you have a text in English and would like it to be translated into Spanish, you just go to the drop-down menu and choose that option. The same thing works for translating webpages.
Another great thing about the Google translator is that you can download the Google toolbar, which can translate words on English pages into other languages. That way you never even have to go back to the Google translator webpage to translate individual words.
One of the things that I like about the Google translator is that it is a really simple interface to use. Many online translators have designs that can be fairly convoluted and complex. Google's, however, is pretty straightforward.
One of my critiques, though, is that they don't tell you the character limit for the text box. Many free online translators only allow you to translate a certain number of characters and they let you know right up front what that limit is. Google, however, doesn't tell you. Maybe they don't have one for all I know. It would be nice to know either way.
All in all, the Google translator is the one I like using should the need arise. As long as you remember that the quality is only as good as what you're paying for it (it's free), you'll be OK.