About the Author

Michael Doig is a science teacher, web developer, and avid traveler who lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Google Language Tools Make Browsing Easier

I currently live in MontrĂ©al Canada, the second largest French speaking city in the world and I don’t speak French. I can get by with hand waving and speaking broken French on the streets, and most locally related websites are offered in both English and French. However, I occasionally find a website that is only in French and I want to know what it says. I could learn French or call my girlfriend over to translate, but I’m too lazy and I just use Google’s Language Tools.

The link is on Google’s home page www.google.com and is easily missed if you aren’t looking for it. I clicked on it one day and it’s proved an invaluable tool ever since.

language_tools

Click the link and in traditional Google style there are just a few choices, which makes things easy for us. Google allows you to translate a block of text or a whole web page using 9 different languages. In this example we want to translate a whole page. So if you want to translate http://web.utanet.at/brenne55/tutorial/pktt.htm which is a German page, you would copy the URL and enter it into the Translate a web page field, choose German To English and click Translate. Simple isn’t it?

translate

What you get back is never really a perfect translation, but I find that it gives a pretty good approximation and you get a better feel for what’s being said on the page as opposed to just following along with the pictures. The results can offer some interesting reading, that’s for sure.

One last fun thing you can do with the Google Language Tools is change the user interface languages. If you scroll down the page you will see a bunch of different options including strange choices like: Bork, Bork, Bork, Elmer Fudd, Hacker, Pig Latin, and Yiddish. For an added bonus be sure to change the Google interface to something fun next time you use your buddy’s computer.