Decyphering Google Translate on your web logs

Whenever I read this site’s web logs, I’m always fascinated by the number of referrals via Google Translate.

Every month there seems to be more of them, which could mean that the quality of Google Translate is improving, or this site is doing better in the rankings, or some combination of the two. Or, it could be simply be that more people have discovered Google Translate.

Given my passion for country codes, it’s fair to say that I also enjoy language codes. And it is through language codes that you can figure out what languages users were translating your site “from” and “to.”

Here is one referral string from my site:

google_translate

First, you can see that the person was using Google Korea, so it’s fair to say the person was translating from English into Korean. The “To” line is actually the blog title post translated into Korean.

That was an easy one.

This next one is a bit more challenging:

google_translate2

This person was using Google.com, so you have to focus on the language codes. There are two here — an “id” (which follows  “hl=”) and an “en” (which follows “sl=”). What this means is the person was translating from English into Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia).

Here is what the translated page looks like:

google_translate2a

The quick and easy way to know the target language is to focus on the “hl=” string. In the screen shot below, the target language is German.

google_translate3

And here is a language code reference if you want to study your web logs.

What I want to know is what percentage of web traffic is taken up by Google Translate. Anyone care to share their Web log stats?

Based on my cursory analysis, I would estimate the figure to be between 5% and 10%, but that’s very rough.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.

2 thoughts on “Decyphering Google Translate on your web logs”

  1. The “hl” parameter is actually the language of the interface in which the user is viewing Google Translate. It would probably be fairly safe to assume that the language code assigned to the “hl” parameter is therefore also the target language, but that’s not always the case. What you should really be looking for is either a “tl” parameter (i.e. target language) or the “langpair” parameter.

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