For all the successes of Google’s Website Translator, it’s easy to forget that the effort is still a major work in progress.

The latest addition to the project allows website owners to customize the way the service works on their pages. The feature, which in true Google style is in beta, allows website owners to tweak Google’s output and improve it when necessary.

Google has been offering website visitors the ability to suggest better translations since 2007. With the new system, however, Google is streamlining this process, allowing visitors the ability to suggest translations that site owners can accept and use directly.

Like the website block feature Google added last March, this latest move is, in its own way, the company’s way of admitting that there certain problems that even Google can’t entirely solve. And perfect translation is one of them.

All of this seems minor, but any move that solves even the tiniest of translation problems is a victory for the online translation process as a whole, especially when the little changes are combined into one larger effort.

But it’s clear that Google can’t quite accomplish all of this on its own, which is why the new additions to Google Translate aren’t all that surprising.As Google Translate Product Manager Jeff Chin notes, the company may not perfect translate until someone invents a true Artificial Intelligence. But until that happens, it seems as if Google’s going to have to rely in no small part on intelligence of the decidedly human kind.


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