Monday, 31 October 2011

Google Translate with SDL Trados Connection Problems

Firstly, let me say that I hate Google Translate most of the time. For the kind of Technical Chinese to English translations I do, the results are usually hilarious (unintentionally) and not the slightest bit useful. However, on some occasions, it can be handy. For example, if I come across a list of chemical elements, for the heavier elements, all I would normally do is google them and find the Chinese name, there's no way I could memorize the heavier stuff. Google Translate can do that for me, saving the trouble. The problem is that the Google Translate doesn't seem to care about the quality of the source website and does occasionally get it wrong (so I have to double and triple check everything). Anyway, for some jobs it can be handy to use Google Translation, but it has to be used only in rare circumstances.

Thus, there are two important points to take into account. Firstly, the fact is that Goolge Translate has "HORRIBLE" licensing agreements. There has been a lot of writing about this on the web recently, you can see  an example of of critical blog article here. Basically, Google keeps everything you do and can do whatever they want with it. For that reason, virutally no clients allow you to use Google Translate on their projects, but as I said, it can still have its uses in certain circumstances.

For that reason, it was a real problem when google recently started charging from the use of Google Translate (as mentioned on their blog here). This means that you have to register with "Google Checkout" and you will be billed for using Google Translate. You can argue about whether it's a good thing to be charged, but I guess it's up to them. The problem is that this change suddenly caused a problem to Trados Studio 2009.  A quick look around the translation blogs will show that people were furious with SDL about that.

The only solution seemed to offer was to upgrade to Studio 2011 and then to WAIT until they release another service pack. The main rivals to SDL seemed to catch on a lot quicker, for example MemoQ has already updated its code, and so have a couple of the other TM providers.

Thus, a workaround was needed  for SDL translate. Luckily, Translator's Corner came to the rescue. The solution is as follows. Trados Studio sends a call to the Google Translate system. We download some software (Fiddler) that allows us to "catch" the call and modify it. When then modify the call to the settings that work with the new paid version of the Google Translate system. When it comes back we catch the response and send it back to Trados as required.

Go over to Translator's Corner to see exactly how it works and get all the necessary code etc. It's worth using, but don't go using Google Translate unless you really know what you are doing.

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