Google’s Ill considered decision creates uproar!

One of the most useful programs offered by Google, and one which is used by Read-out frequently is Google Translate. It is particularly useful is identifying the general meaning of communication and websites which we use from time to time in languages other than English particularly in French, Italian, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese, though we have used it for Russian and other languages as well.

Google Translate

Ní féidir liom?

The translation offered are sometimes picturesque but generally it is easy enough to extract the general drift of meaning and enables an initial decision whether to follow up or leave an item.

However I discovered in a local newspaper that Google for some reason have decided to discontinue this service and that this is creating grave inconvenience for many. The article stated that a great on-line uproar went up last week after the decision announced. Apparantly they plan to discontinnue this and other API (Application Programming Interface) shortly withdrawing it completely by the end of the year. (The other include VideoSearch API, Books JavaScript API, ImageSearch API and some others. But it is the decision to kill Google Translate API that is creating the greatest controversy as it is the most used of the APIs.)

Many difficulties will be created for programs such as Trados, Wordfast and DéjáVu used by translators. But there are hundreds of smartphone apps which use it too to deal with many diferent languages. The API product manager of Google Adam Feldman somewhat glibly calls it a “spring cleaning” citing “substantial economic burden caused by extensive abuse” as a cause. He, in an apparent slight backtrack has said that “will be releasing an updated plan to offer a paid version of the Translate API.” (Spring cleaning of some of our APIs 3/6/2011)

The correspondent Ciarán Mac Fhearghusa, in Gaelscéal reports one developer as saying “It will be difficult for me to have any confidence in any new API issued by Google from now on! I will have to consider strongly if it is worth it to invest my time and other resources making facilitating these APIs in our own systems.” And he asks the relevant question, “Why should any developer who is developimng a long term product trust Google’s API ever again?”

Another blogger, Wolsrealm confirms this in has blog, Google to kill the Translate API, as he says  comments “…this move has resulted in a backlash of ill-will and mistrust from many who are now wondering whether or not to continue to utilize ANY of the Google API’s for fear they will be killed off with little warning instead of Google’s stated period of 3 years to deprecate an API before removing it.”

There is now some agitation for the Google Translate API to be mantained especially for non-profit organisation and educational establishments.

As we write this we have come across an article in praise of translators. “Treasure your tech language translators” which is of course is a different type of translation which Google or other translators cannot hope to emulate! It is the transmission of the vast area of knowledge that is contained in the minds and writings of automation professionals and making it available to their colleagues throughout the world.

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