Friday, May 30, 2008

Genealogy Research Made "One Click" Easier

Google comes through for genealogists once again. This time they've made genealogy research easier for us with their latest addition of 10 more languages to their translation service (bringing the total to 23). And God bless them, this time they've added Polish :-)

On May 15, 2008 Google announced the addition of the following 10 languages to their translation service: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian and Swedish. Is that cool, or what?

Like any online translator, Google's isn't perfect. From my limited but enthusiastic investigation in the last couple of days I'd say on average a couple words per paragraph don't get translated (translating Polish to English). So you'll still need to pull out your foreign language dictionary from time to time but most of the translation is done for you. Yipee!!!

And here's the really cool part... go here and scroll down to the list of languages with hypertext links. Now click on "English" and drag it up to your browser's tool bar. The next time you get to a site written in a foreign language just click on that new link in your tool bar and voila! Google's translator will automatically detect what language the page is written in and instantly translate it to English for you (if it's one of their 23 languages ;-). For genealogists who don't read the native language of their ancestors this really is the next best thing since sliced bread. You don't have to copy and paste text in a box or type in a hyperlink and choose which language to translate to and from. Just one click to translate a web page, it's that easy. Sigh. I think I'm in love.

While you're on the Google Translation Tool page, notice the translation gadget in the upper left corner. You can add this gadget to your blog like I've done in my right side column. Then, anyone who visits your blog can do a one-click translation of your blog post into their language. Check it out! I just viewed my latest blog post in Russian. Very cool!

And here's another great thing. Let's say you are lucky enough and talented enough to be bilingual. If you use their translator and don't agree with the way a word or sentence is translated they invite you to suggest a better translation. Ya gotta love Google. This translation service will only get better with time as people write in with new and refined interpretations.

I can't think of a single new technology tool that can do as much for my personal family history research as this latest offering from the folks at Google. And it's just in time too. I'll be starting my summer writing project, one of my family histories, in the next week or two.

Hat tip to Lisa for posting about Google's new language offerings earlier this week!