Yesterday, Google announced that it will soon be launching a cross-language information retrieval (CLIR) feature. As Greg Sterling wrote:
“Search queries will be entered in the native language, translated into English and run against Google’s index. Any retrieved pages/sites will then be translated from English back into the native language. [Google's Udi] Manber said it “opens up the Web universally to the whole world.”
Translation in search isn’t really new—Yahoo has offered cross-translation search in a few languages since July 2005. If you can’t wait for Google’s CLIR which will be rolled out “soon,” you can try it at Yahoo Germany, Yahoo France and Yahoo Japan (I couldn’t find a link as I don’t speak Japanese); read more about Yahoo’s translator on the Yahoo Searchblog.