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Google Translate

FAQ: Question(s)

What is the 'Google Translate' service and how do I use it?

FAQ: Answer(s)

What is the 'Google Translate' service?

Google Translate is a free 'statistical machine translation service' provided by Google to translate webpages and other text sources from one language into another. For some languages, the results are pretty impressive, while for others the results range from disappointing to almost unintelligible. Despite this, the translations are usually better than nothing provided that the results are viewed with caution and used with care.

This website was written in English and the site's author has no control over - and is not responsible for - the accuracy (or otherwise) of the translations into other languages.

The 'Google Translate' service is free to use and there is no need to log-in to use it.

Turning-on the 'Google Translate' service

This website is written and presented in English by default. However, the 'Google Translate' widget (located near the bottom of each page) allows each user to select another language by either clicking / tapping on one of the national flags, or by selecting a country from the drop-down list. Either of these actions will result in the current page - and all subsequent pages - being translated 'on-the-fly' by Google's 'multilingual statistical machine translation service' . Each page is loaded first in English. If the translation service has been enabled, it will then be translated and automatically re-loaded in the selected language - a process that usually takes less than a second or two.

Limitations and downsides

Although the translations supplied by the 'Google Translate' service are extremely useful, they are often incomplete and / or contain errors. Furthermore, users with expensive data plans should note that using the Google Translate service essentially doubles the amount of data that is downloaded.

Turning off the 'Google Translate' service

The translation service can be turned-off at any time by resetting the language to English.


The 'Google Translate' service uses first-party cookies. If first party cookies or all cookies have been disabled, the Google Translate service will not work.

The service sets the 'googtrans' first-party cookie. This records two pieces of data using internationally recognised two-character country codes: the base language of the site (en = English), followed by the language selected by the user - i.e. the language into which the site is currently being translated (e.g. de = German or it = Italian). The data is stored in the form /en/de. If this website is not currently being translated, the cookie is not set. If this website is currently being translated, the cookie is set and it will expire when the user turns off the translation service (by resetting the language to English) or at end of the current browser session.

Further reading

For background information on the 'Google Translate' service, expand the 'External Links' section below and use the link provided.