Google Releases Language Translation API

John Musser, March 20th, 2008

As of today, the powerful Google Translate service that lets you translate between 13 different languages and 29 language pairs is now available as a handy JavaScript-based API. Given the breadth of the engine it’s built on, it already supports languages including Russian, Korean, Arabic, Italian, Greek, French and Spanish. It’s a simple but powerful API, given the number of uses this can be put to. Our new Google Translate API profile has more technical details.

As their announcement makes clear, it’s a very easy to use API with two main functions: language detection and language translation. The language translate() function just needs a string to translate, the source and destination languages, and a callback function. The detect() function takes a block of text and a callback.


Since language detection is very hard problem and not always perfect, the API provides two useful properties of a true/falue value “isReliable” and a 0-1.0 “confidence” value which together give an indication of how certain the language detector is in each case.

For some ideas on what uses this can put to, check-out our listing of 7 translation-related mashups in our directory now. These include the mashup shown below, Universal Chat Translator for Skype (download here), a plug-in built on the Skype API that translates chats in real-time:

Note that the API documentation makes it clear there are more features coming before long: “We plan on adding more exciting capabilities to the AJAX Language API in the future, so stay tuned.”

Tags: Google
Both comments and pings are currently closed.

29 Responses to “Google Releases Language Translation API”

March 21st, 2008
at 7:40 am
Comment by: Renato

Are there any volume restrictions? could I translate one million words every day?

March 22nd, 2008
at 7:40 am
Comment by: dave

@Renato, I believe you can only translate 500 words per request. I posted about this here.

March 22nd, 2008
at 9:08 am
Comment by: John Musser

@Renato: Good question. I missed it first time around but as dave points out the terms of service say you you will not “submit any request exceeding 500 characters in length, to the translation components of the Service”.

March 23rd, 2008
at 3:50 am
Comment by: Google Releases Language Translation API |

[...] More… addthis_url = ‘′; addthis_title = ‘Google+Releases+Language+Translation+API’; addthis_pub = ”; If you liked this post, buy me a beer. (Suggested: $3 a beer or $7.5 for a pitcher) [...]

March 23rd, 2008
at 11:46 am
Comment by: MADBELLO » Blog Archive » Language Translation API

[...] [...]

April 1st, 2008
at 1:13 am
Comment by: Google’s New Visualization API

[...] has been a busy stretch for Google APIs: besides the recently released new AJAX Translation API this month, Google also launched the Google Visualization API, a JavaScript API which lets you access multiple [...]

May 18th, 2008
at 9:46 am
Comment by: Cutout

Google’s software will definitely have a problem with complex languages such as Chinese or Japanese because their words are not separated by spaces. They only show one possible translation when really you should be able to choose from multiple options. If you want to learn almost any language in the world, my site can help you.

May 22nd, 2008
at 3:53 am
Comment by: Other Greek blog-posts about Cornelius Castoriadis « OMADEON

[...] Google Releases Language Translation API [via Zemanta] [...]

May 27th, 2008
at 6:55 am
Comment by: Zemanta semantic plugin for non-English bloggers (Οδηγίες χρήσης του Zemanta για Ελληνικά blogs) « OMADEON

[...] it is possible to use clever and simple programming calls to Google’s new “translation API” to translate (almost any) blog-post into English temporarily generating semantic results [...]

June 9th, 2008
at 12:19 pm
Comment by: Οδηγίες Χρήσης του Semantic Plugin Zemanta (αυτή τη φορά για… ΜΗ-γνωρίζοντες αγγλικά)! « OMADEON

[...] και απλές προγραμματιστικές κλήσεις στην υπηρεσία API του Google για μετάφραση, για να μεταφράσουν (σχεδόν κάθε) [...]

September 21st, 2008
at 11:48 am
Comment by: Quick Online Translator

I have developed Free Online Translation Service page which use Google AJAX Language API. I also used Google AJAX Language API to translate the user interface of Online Translation Service to the following languages: English, Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish.

January 29th, 2010
at 8:02 am
Comment by: blake gont

Yes, the google do have issues with the complex languages.. we noway understand..

July 22nd, 2010
at 9:32 am
Comment by: Catalin

I’ve used Google translation API in, but I don’t know how to call “contribute” functions…

September 6th, 2010
at 2:29 am
Comment by: Translation Agency

Free online translation software have a major problem, that is accuracy. When we start Chinese, Japanese and Arabic language translation through these free online tools. Their language conversion accuracy is very poor compare to human language translation, their also change meaning of sentence.

October 19th, 2010
at 8:09 am
Comment by: Parthosarathi

I really like this idea. We are offering professional translations services

November 23rd, 2010
at 3:40 am
Comment by: Translation Services

very nice article
We are one of the Translation company in Delhi,India

December 6th, 2010
at 10:21 am
Comment by: Ben

I’d like to add speech to , but Google Language API doesn’t contain any speech function.

January 12th, 2011
at 9:13 am
Comment by: Anna

Google translation API is great, but sometimes a human translation is needed to avoid problems. At you can have both.

January 14th, 2011
at 10:10 pm
Comment by: Zain Shaikh

I have used this API in C# but I never tried out the javascript one. thanks for the post.

April 18th, 2011
at 12:18 pm
Comment by: tonikurtz

Why i can’t install OnTranslator on my macbook? Can’t understand what the problem. Does anyone uses that translator?

April 20th, 2011
at 8:45 am
Comment by: penerjemah tersumpah

I’ve tried many times, but has not been successful and hard at all, what is wrong. why? thanks for the information

October 13th, 2011
at 10:05 am
Comment by: Your Questions Regarding Medical Language Translation

[...] If you would rather be a psychology officer, then you should go with your heart, work hard in college and I'm sure your grades will improve and you will be a psychology officer and much happier than if you were a translator officer. If you settle for anything less, you will regret not trying for a very long time, so if you would love to be a psychology officer, then you should make that your goal. Powered by Yahoo! Answers Mary asks… English to Korean Translation!!? Please translate the following into Korean! Thanks! H…m-content"> [...]

December 20th, 2011
at 5:02 am
Comment by: Kailan

This introduces a pelsainlgy rational point of view.

December 20th, 2011
at 10:56 am
Comment by: mhcelagh

TMlJH2 ciwgrireobrr

December 22nd, 2011
at 5:23 am
Comment by: vmxbdm

KVr1DO odrxhcmjewgz

May 12th, 2012
at 3:01 am
Comment by: chris birdman andersen

My brother recommended I might like this website.
He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

June 18th, 2012
at 9:04 pm
Comment by: Disconcerting Procedures To Rule Using online games

It’s hard to come by experienced people about this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

July 20th, 2012
at 6:30 pm
Comment by: airhog

Pretty component to content. I simply stumbled upon your web site and in accession
capital to assert that I get actually loved account your blog posts.
Any way I’ll be subscribing on your feeds and even I achievement you get right of entry to constantly fast.

October 11th, 2012
at 6:00 am
Comment by: scottuckers

Informative article, just what I needed.

Follow the PW team on Twitter

APIs, mashups and code. Because the world's your programmable oyster.

John Musser
Founder, ProgrammableWeb

Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.