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Google Blog now publishing in 40 Languages

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Hitting 40 languages

7/18/2008 07:01:00 AM
One of our goals is to give everyone using Google the information they want, wherever they are, in whatever language they speak, and through whatever device they're using. A huge part of that goal is making our services available in as many languages as possible. And as I’m sure you can imagine, that isn't as easy as simply as translating a few lines of text.

Take Hebrew or Arabic, which are written from right to left. An Arabic speaker may search for [world cup football 2008] [كأس العالم 2008 لكرة القدم]. Part of the query will be written from right to left in Arabic, while the numbers will be written left to right. Sometimes the right-to-left difference can mean having to change the entire layout of a page, as with Gmail.

Or take Russian, where words change depending on their placement and role in a sentence. In Russian, for example [pizza in Moscow] is [пицца в Москве] but [pizza near Moscow] is [пицца рядом с Москвой].

Then there's the whole challenge of ensuring that queries are locally relevant. While many Australians searching for [freedom] are looking for the Australian furniture chain, UK and US users are often looking for the definition of the word itself. Our search results, then, have to take into account these local differences.

Our efforts to make Google products available in as many languages as possible dates to 2001, when we started Google in Your Language, which lets volunteers translate and edit translations of Google products in their native languages.

As more and more users, advertisers, and partners interact with Google across the world, the need for local products has become even more obvious. In 2007, we undertook a company-wide initiative to increase the availability of our products in multiple languages. We picked the 40 languages read by over 98% of Internet users and got going, relying heavily on open source libraries such as ICU and other internationalization technologies to design products. Do you need web search in Chinese or AdWords online support in Spanish? Perhaps Google News in Hindi or Google Scholar in Korean? Not a problem.
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