Machine Translation Fail (and how to install a link to Google Translate on your WordPress.Com blog)

The Great Buddha statue, Kōtoku Temple, to translate this post

The news here is that I’m looking to use Google Translate to allow non-English speakers to read my other blog.  That blog is about spirituality.  To test it, I tried translating a page into Chinese and back.

But the results were not ideal.  The sentence:

The Diamond Sutra is probably the most important text in Buddhism, at least equal in significance to the Heart Sutra and the Lotus Sutra.

Came back as:

“King Kong” is probably the most important Buddhist text, the “Heart Sutra” and “Lotus Sutra” at least equal significance.


Everyone says you can’t get a Google Translate button on a WordPress.Com blog.  Not a general “translate this page” button.  In fact, you can — I figured it out myself.  What I can’t figure out is, whether it’s any good to do so.

To “translate this page” you need the link to “this page” — can’t do it without a specific link, but you can use the general link to your blog (e.g. ““).  Remove the http:// and add the url to the end of this link:

You’ll get something like:

Which will translate Tilted Candle (in this case) from whatever language is detected into whatever the default browser language is for the viewer’s machine.

The secret is not to specify the destination language.  The source language, destination language and user language can all be specified by parameters in the Google Translate url.  Source Language can be set to auto, as it is in the demo (?sl=auto).

The other parameters maybe can’t be set to auto, but they certainly can be omitted.  The super-geniuses who built Google Translate decided that should put the translate machine into its default action, which is to auto-detect the relevant languages.  Pretty good, guys — thanks!

Everyone thought you needed a widget or a button or something.  But no — the plain old html url does it.  Google does all the heavy lifting.


5 comments on “Machine Translation Fail (and how to install a link to Google Translate on your WordPress.Com blog)

  1. Clare O'Farrell says:

    Many thanks for this. Very useful. I have installed the link in the right sidebar of my blog

  2. Roberta says:

    It’s going to be ending of mine day, however before ending I am reading this impressive paragraph to improve my know-how.

  3. Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads
    up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same outcome.

  4. Judson says:

    Right here is the perfect webpage for anybody whho wants to understand this topic.
    You realize a whole lot its almost tough to argtue with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa).
    You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic that’s been discussed for
    decades. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

  5. Excellent I got mine with an image of google translate on the left footer sidebar!!

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