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Google takes translation to the next level

The new Google Translation Center will be a marketplace for matching translators with people who need their services.

Google is preparing to launch Google Translation Center - a free service that acts as a marketplace for matching translators with people who need their services.

While Google already does a fair job of translating webpages from other languages through its existing ‘Translate' product, it still can't compare to its human counterparts for a truly accurate translation.

The service involves statistical machine translation technology, which works by comparing large numbers of parallel texts that have been translated between languages, and then learning which words and phrases map to others. The obvious downside to this technology is that it needs a huge volume of directly translated sentences to do a decent job, and this isn't easy to come by.

Not for long. The Google Translation Center will help Google solve that problem by providing a source for premium texts that can be fed back into its statistical translation systems.

If a document needs translating, it's uploaded and a request is made for a translator to work on it. Google's automatic translation tools make the entire process easier as it creates the first draft, with translators having to only correct mistakes instead of starting from scratch.

Google will not get involved with compensation for the translations, leaving that to the individuals involved. For freelance and professional translators it offers the extra benefit of cutting out middlemen in the form of translation service companies, and allows them to work directly with clients using quality productivity tools.

Whether the Center extends to Arabic translation services is not immediately known as their regional office commented: "We're always looking at new ways of providing tools for users to connect with each other, share information, and improve access to information on the internet, but we don't have any new details to share at this time."