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Today the Google Translator Toolkit (GTT) team is making it easier for you to localize your apps. A new version of the toolkit supports automated translation of strings in Android resource files. You upload your strings.xml file and the translation engine will create localized versions of the file for you. It's fast, accurate, and free, and even has advanced features for localization specialists.

Give the toolkit a try and let us know what you think.
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50 comments
 
Let's prepare for more apps with awful translations...
 
"You upload your strings.xml file and the translation engine will create localized versions of the file for you."
And then you can laugh at the funny translations :)
 
Quality apps should never, never, ever rely on automatic translations. Not yet. Only use I can find to this is to check for spell errors in user-generated translations (usually (always?) more accurate) via services like getlocalization.com (btw, they support android's xmls)

Don't understand why Google is encouraging developers to use this, unless they prioritize Google services' promotion over Android apps' quality.
 
Totally agree with you +Luis Santos del Val
As the name suggests: it's a Toolkit for Translators, who will know how to use it appropriately, and some times, work faster.
Note the bold in some times, as some of the translations by automatic translation programs are totally unacceptable.
 
I might give this a whirl. I think you have to know the target language pretty well in the first place (French in my case), but it could do a lot of the spadework for you.
 
I appreciate the effort, but doing this is not the best of the ideas.

Many devs are shipping their apps with low-quality, automated translations, and the result is unintelligible most of the time. I had to set my phone to English because of this.

Developers, please don't do this. Or at least use some human translators to correct it after doing this (which is the intended use of this tool, after all).
 
The quality of automated translation is not good enough to produce a final piece of work, so the toolkit should not be advertised to developers, but intended for professional translators only.
Knowing a language does not warrant a good translation.

My dad was a surgeon and I've seen hundreds of videos of operations and learnt a lot. Would you want me to "give it a go" and operate on you?
...
I thought so.
Leave the professionals to do their work. Surgeons to operate on people, Developers to develop programs, Translators to translate.
 
The idea is cool as all get out and I use GoogXlate all the time for rough ideas about what a text is talking about. That said, MT still sucks so bad you'd have to be on crack cocaine to use it with no review even in a free product (even in a product you paid people to use - there clear enough ?!).
 
I see from your URL that you have a vested interest in this, but you should stop trying to compartmentalise people with such poor analogies. There are plenty of developers such as myself who are fluent in a second language. other than English. Plus in my experience outside translators often do a poor job, because they do not understand the app they are translating.
 
This would really help regional locales, this was a major lack and feels this is a betterment move
 
+Philip Sheard OK fair point about if you happen to be bi/tri lingual as a dev. As for human translator quality - you get what you pay for - it's really just as simple as that (I know, my wife is a tech Japanese specialist with outsourcing experience on 15+ langs - she tells stores that would make your toes curl) ;-)
 
+Philip Sheard That happens when you hire the wrong translator. Someone that does legal all the time, will most probably do a rubbish job at technical.
My husband is a programmer and I've lost count of the number of times he has sent me stuff to fix because the translators the company hired messed up.
 
It's just a tool. Google won't do the work for stupid developers that take the "translations" for granted, but this will definitely save time for final translation review.
 
I have never actually hired a translator, so I would not know. But are you seriously claiming that you would do a better job of translating my own app into my own language that I would? I find that a bit arrogant, to say the least.
 
+Philip Sheard I don't know who you're talking to, but if you're replying to me, no, I never said that. Why would you want to translate your app into your own language? If you're bilingual, you don't have anything to translate :)
 
You really shouldn't use a translator in a high quality app. However I wouldn't say you shouldn't use it at all. A semi broken translation is better than not being able to read it at all. I offer my app in multiple countries in languages I cannot speak. It is a lot of work to do this, but it turns out my app is mainly used by people who do not even speak English (my app is all in English). I get e-mails all the time in foreign languages which I use Google translate to translate into English and translate my response back. I can honestly say that neither I nor my customer have ever had a problem understanding the general idea while using Google Translate. I was contemplating translating the text in my xml files, but it is a lot of work for all the different languages. This would make it much simpler. The app is free and a hobby and I cannot afford to pay people to translate it 100% and I do not want to prevent people from using my app because they cannot read some parts if they have to (most people can figure the intuitive stuff out, but there are special cases).

With that being said yes you don't want to translate massive paragraphs worth of data, but if you have massive paragraphs worth of data then chances are your app isn't high quality to begin with. If you need a lot of text to define different things then your app is not very intuitive and not user friendly and therefore semi accurate translations won't make a difference to the quality of your app.
 
If this is just being used to translate standard software menu items (File, Edit etc.) then I think it could be very accurate. After all it's probably not going to be translating sentences or paragraphs.

+Chris Yang Is it working from a look-up table of already verified translations or is it using a statistical MT approach? ... or is it a hybrid system?

Novel menu items, however, are something else - Users of this software should make a particular point of verifying novel menu items.
 
+Johann Dirry great point - one of my favorite iGoogle apps was a little widget that did round trip - very handy for quick validation/iteration (no guarantees of accuracy even then but a statistically much better chance of it!).
 
That is true. After I translate something I always translate it back to see the accuracy
 
I can't find a way to translate the same strings.xml into more than one language... or upload an updated version of strings.xml. Plus the translation engine doesn't understand Android formatting, so that %1$d becomes % 1 $ d or some such...

Too bad, because currently available translation services are all broken or pretty expensive when it comes to Android. And I'm not talking about human translators, just the tools.
 
+Pierre-Luc Paour Knowing Google this feature could probably be considered "Beta" and they probably still need to iron out some of the features. While there might be some issues now, I imagine most of them will be addressed in the near future considering they just released this tool.
 
+Richard So Multi-langage support would have pretty deep architectural impact, and so would the ability to update the source language.

So this feels to me like Google "just" extended the translation toolkit and the best use-case is throw-away crappy machine translations that this thread is bemoaning... I hope I'm wrong!
 
What's next, Google encouraging developers to copy+paste the UI design from iOS to Android? I mean, there are moments where you clearly don't want to take a shortcut unless you want a crappy result. IMO, using automatic translation leads to unpleasant apps, it's like watching a movie with REALLY bad subtitles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garbage_in,_garbage_out
 
Better than no translation, which is where most small developers end up.
 
Interesting. Sounds more convenient than just sending mails to the translators. Will have to try this.
 
+Ben Tobin better no translation then a crappy translation with no possibility to change language in app
 
+Ben Tobin No, it isn't. Automatic translations are so broken that having one in your app is worse than not having it at all.
 
I disagree. If you don't know the language that the app is written in, the app is unusable. If it has a bad translation, it is merely annoying.
 
Including a translation that you know is bad is very unprofessional and I would definitely uninstall any app that did so and leave a poor rating for it. You have no way of knowing if the translation is completely indecipherable, either: and depending on the target language that can very easily happen. The popularity of things like Engrish instruction manuals, etc. is a good example of this. And not only that, the only way an user can revert to the English language written by an actual human in your app is by changing the language of the whole device.

Instead of trying to cater for everyone and failing terribly at it, look at the statistics and provide real translations for the most common languages of your users (use the developer console statistics). Almost all apps in the Play Store are primarily written in English: it's not unreasonable to assume that your average user should be able to read it at some level of decent understanding.
 
I don't disagree, for the most part, but I have run into at least one app I wanted to use, but everything was in Japanese, and I simply couldn't use it. Even a bad translation would have made it usable for me.

For many free apps done on a hobby basis, getting a professional translation simply isn't going to happen.

I agree that one should never use this if a professional translation is available. This isn't a magic bullet, but I think it meets a need.
 
This is great. It would be even better if it worked with .properties :)
 
Thank you all for your feedback! The idea for this project is to provide a free platform for developers to localize their apps faster and better.

Translator Toolkit, by default, will translate the strings automatically using Google Translate. If machine translation is imperfect, it can be further improved manually through Toolkit's online editor. Developers can then download the fully localized strings.xml file for use in your Android app and get it ready for the world.

We strongly recommend developers localize, not just translate, their apps through amateur or professional translators. Here are some localization vendors for your convenience: http://support.google.com/translate/toolkit/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1077737.
 
Well it doesn't seem to work now. It used to yesterday, now I get this when trying to upload strings.xml:

Sorry, we do not currently support this file type. Please check our supported file types in our Help Center and try again.

Please check and fix :)
Thanks.
 
The "Share" functionality seem to be broken. And so is "Report a problem". Is this wonderful tool still supported?
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