Translate Plug-Ins Help Bridge Cultural Divides: Google Translate as a Tool for the Monolingual

By Andrew Wohrley.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

While the Internet has provided more information more available than ever before, until now it has provided little for the monolingual outside of the language they can read. What machine translations that existed provided more amusement than information. Google Translate offers more people more opportunities to understand foreign cultures without using intermediaries than ever before. Google Translate provides free, fast, high-quality translations of HTML and PDF texts in the major languages, and while the translations may be rough in spots, it is good enough to provide a reliable sense of the text. The methods that work best in searching other languages is either using trademarks like Airbus, or personal names like Nicolas Sarkozy as keywords to search. Google also provides automatic translations of words into major foreign languages that can be cut and pasted into keyword searches. The quality of Google Translate is most easily demonstrated with the Google News feature which can search the media in major foreign languages by entering the URL and then appending the desired two letter country code such as .ru. Google Translate might be the best service offered researchers by Google since the original Google Search engine. If one is dissatisfied with media coverage of any particular topic, either by reasons of bias or inadequate coverage, Google Translate provides a bridge across the cultural and linguistic divide.

Keywords: Google Translate, Machine Translations

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.101-110. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.224MB).

Andrew Wohrley

Engineering Reference Librarian, Reference Department, Library, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA

Andrew Wohrley is Engineering Librarian and Patent and Trademark Depository Library Representative at Auburn University. His interests lie in the application of technology to Library Reference Services. A particular interest is the application of browser add-ons to enhance library research. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Valparaiso University and an M.L.S. from Indiana University.


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