Home Google Releases AJAX Language API

Google Releases AJAX Language API

Google today opened up the machine translation software they implemented on their own Google Translate site via a public API. The AJAX Language API allows developers to perform translations in their applications for all 13 supported languages and 29 translation pairs.

As an example, Google engineer Ben Lisbakken cooked up a Google Gadget that uses the AJAX Language API to create a simple language learning quiz (it asks question like: “What is ‘moutain’ in Spanish?”). The example also leverages Google’s AJAX Search API to display image hints.

There are potentially a host of applications for the language API beyond simple localization. I’m not sure how fast the API is, but how about on-the-fly translation for instant messaging? Certainly Google’s machine translation is far from perfect, but imagine being able to have a conversation with someone in two languages where you’re only exposed to your native tongue?

Google already released a bunch of translation bots on its GoogleTalk IM service that repeat back whatever you say to it in a translated language (each bot handles a different language pair), but imagine that being a setting you could just flip on at the client level? The new API can handle language detection, so you could tell your chat client to detect whatever language is being spoken and then translate it to English (or whatever language you need on the output) automatically.

What other sort of applications can you envision for the Google translation API? Let us know in the comments.

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