Friday, August 31, 2007
Many Google products (Google.com, Blogger, Google Earth, and others) currently support more than 170 languages, from Abhazian to Zulu. Translations into most of these languages are done by volunteers from around the world who are eager to help people view and search the web in their own native language. To facilitate how we go about getting these languages, we created a volunteer translation program: Google In Your Language.
Anybody can sign up as a volunteer translator by visiting the Language Tools page and then clicking on the Google in Your Language link. After verification, you'll be offered a list of products to translate, including the main search site, Gmail, iGoogle, Google Maps, and many others
Although the amount of translation for each project is not overwhelming, it usually takes weeks for an individual volunteer to finish translating one site. Once a reasonable percentage of translations for Google pages in a given language is submitted, we'll add your language to production and, after a bit of time, you'll be able to see them in yet another language.
Some "volunteer" languages are well represented and are nearly finished being translated, i.e. Armenian, Estonian, Slovenian are 95% complete; even Latin has 70% of its translations done. Representatives of other languages are not as active, i.e. Abhazian has been available for several years, but so far we don't have enough translations completed to release it into production. Tibetan, Inupak, Inuktikut, Wolof, Zhuang all have less than 10% of their content translated. Interestingly, each of those has more speakers than Faroese, which has 74% of texts translated.
Recently we have added a bunch of new languages to the Google In Your Language program, including Navajo, Filipino, several Russian Federation languages (Avaric, Chechen, Chuvash, Komi), and some African languages (Akan, Bambara, Gikuyu, Kongo, Ndebele, Ndongo, Nyanja, Venda). Our hope is to attract even more volunteers to participate in this program so that Google can speak all the world's languages one day.