Google Announces AJAX Language API
Individuals looking to interact with different languages should have an easier time of things thanks to the new Google AJAX Language API. The API offers both detection and translation abilities.
The first option should come in handy whenever you run across a block of text – perhaps in your own site’s "Comments" section – that you don’t recognize. Just paste a portion of it into a widget (an example’s provided by a Google AJAX Search API Blog post), and the widget will tell you (with an estimate of its own accuracy) what you’re looking at.
Then try to translate the text (again, there’s an example widget on the AJAX Search API Blog) and find out what it says. The AJAX Language API is familiar with 13 languages and 29 translation pairs, so your odds of success are pretty good.
Translations still aren’t perfect, of course – Roger Browne discovered that the capitalization of a single English letter will result in the return of different French, German, and Italian words. But Google’s suggestions can usually be understood, and it seems like there will be at least a small demand for this sort of thing.
By the way – in case anyone’s wondering what sort of task the AJAX APIs team is attacking on the side, Google’s Brandon Badger writes (with an amount of humor that we’ll let you gauge), "Our 20% goal is world peace."