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Thursday, March 18, 2010
Latest Chrome Release Features Automatic Translation


The latest stable release of Google's Chrome web browser offers translation capabilities.

When the language of the webpage you are viewing is different from your preferred language setting, Chrome will display an infobar asking if you'd like the page to be translated for you, using Google Translate. With a click, the entire text on the page will be translated into your language of preference, without the need for browser extensions or plugins. If you don't want Chrome to offer to translate a particular language or web page, you can control these settings by clicking on the "Options" button in the infobar.

Google said that language detection takes place locally on your computer, so no information is sent to Google Translate until you choose to translate a page. Language detection in Chrome is based on the compact language detection library (CLD), which Google has made available as open source code.

For most languages, the CLD determines the language of a page by breaking down its text in quadgrams, or sequences of up to four characters. The CLD then looks up each quadgram in a large hashtable that contains language probabilities, which is included in the Chrome binaries. This hashtable was originally built by processing language probabilities over billions of web pages that are indexed by Google's search engine. In just a few milliseconds, the CLD can determine the language of most web pages. Chrome shows an infobar offering to translate the page only when the CLD has detected the language of a web page above a certain degree of confidence. If you click the "Translate" button in the infobar, the text contained in the page is then sent to Google Translate's servers (over a secure connection if the page was served over HTTPS). Thanks to the work of the Google Translate team, Google Translate's servers return this translated text quickly so that Chrome can replace the text in the page with the translated version. The request to Google Translate's servers does not include any cookies, Google added.

Google also plans to make language detection even more precise by providing larger CLD tables without increasing the size of the browser's installation package.

You can try translation in the browser for yourself by downloading Google Chrome at google.com/chrome.


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