Translate Your Site to 71 Languages in Five Minutes

Introduction

This article describes an easy approach to providing site translation using Google Translation services; it takes only a few minutes to set it up. There are other methods available for providing site translation but in terms of ease of implementation, it is hard to beat Google's offering. The best part is that it does not cost a thing to pull it off.

As with any translation service, the translations provided are a best effort based upon the rules applied. If you need a more professional translation you may wish to follow more traditional approaches to site translation to be certain that the translations are correct, adhere to language rules, and apply idiomatic expressions correctly.

Still and all, if you just want to have a little fun with simple translations this is a pretty nice feature to add and again, it only takes a few minutes to pull it off.

Getting Started

The first thing you will need to do is visit the Google Translation website: http://translate.google.com/. You will need a Google account (Gmail) to get the mark-up you will need to add translation services to you website.

Once you have logged into your Google account, look to the bottom of page and find the link for Website Translator.

Google Translation Website
Figure 1 - Google Translation Website

After clicking the link, you will be presented with an option to add a new website; Google will allow you to set one up for localhost if you are working in development and have not provisioned a site yet.
 
Click the option to add a new website.

Add New Website
Figure 2 - Add New Website

After clicking the Add new website button, you will be presented with a screen that will allow you to key in your site details. For now just use localhost as your site unless you have a site in mind to use; also set the site language for the original site. Once done, click the Next button at the bottom of the page.

 

Setting up a website
Figure 3 - Setting up a website

After clicking Next, Google will present you some more options. The first will be to define which languages to provide translations for; you can pick all languages (71 at the time of writing) or specific languages if you would rather pick and choose. You can also define what style of widget you want to place on the page; there are three options and you can select the radio buttons shown to see what each looks like.

 

Setting up a website continued
Figure 4 - Setting up a website continued

After making your selections, click the Get Code button at the bottom of the page. Once done, you will be provided with two bits of mark-up. The first is a meta tag that you will need to place into the head section of your page. If you are using one or more master pages, place the meta tag into each master page used.
 
The second item is the script reference and widget; you can cut and paste that code anywhere you want the translation widget to appear on the page. So at this point fire up Visual Studio, open your project, and place the mark-up.

Place the meta tag into the layout page in an MVC project

Figure 5 - Place the meta tag into the layout page in an MVC project 

Place the Widget and Script Reference
Figure 6 - Place the Widget and Script Reference

In this example I have an internet application using the MVC 4 template; I place the mark-up in with the navigation on the layout page so that it will appear on each of the pages in the site.

That is all there is to it. Now run the application and try it out.

 

Running the site with Widget Loaded
Figure 7 - Running the site with Widget Loaded

With the site running the Select Language drop down is loaded on the page and the page is displayed in the original language (English). Clicking the drop down will display a list of languages available for translation purposes.

Translation Language Dropdown
Figure 8 - Translation Language Dropdown

I'll pick French as a language and hold for the translation.

Page Translated
Figure 9 - Page Translated

And Bob's your uncle; now my page speaks French (and quite a few other language). Of course I don't guarantee the quality of the translations but for five minutes on my part (and likely thousands of hours on someone else's part) it is pretty spiffy. Passez une bonne journée tout le monde !