Google’s Promising, But Yahoo’s Doing, Cross Language Information Retrieval

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.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Yahoo: Translation


About The Author: (@CJSherman) is a Founding Editor of and President of Searchwise LLC, a Boulder Colorado based Web consulting firm. He also programs and co-chairs the Search Marketing Expo - SMX conference series.

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  • Michael Martinez

    Sorry, but the Yahoo! service doesn’t even come close to delivering what Google is promising. I went to Yahoo!’s German search interface and entered a query that brought up a site in English to ensure the access is there. I then searched for that site in Deutch-only sites and out of 4 results the site was not returned.

    What Google said will happen with their service is, if you run a query in non-English language A and get only a few results, they’ll populate the results set with more pages drawn from other languages.

    You don’t have to go to a special translation page and already know the URL. That’s a wholely different thing.

    Both Yahoo! and Microsoft have gotten into the picture by claiming that they’re already doing some of the things Google announced. The claims are exaggerated.

    AOL and A9 went much farther down this path than either Yahoo! or Microsoft. They’re both going to have to play catchup, not only to Google but also to AOL and A9 (and A9 search is currently powered by Live Search).

  • CaptainObvious

    As Greg pointed out the translated queries will not be perfect. This may make phrase searching fairly worthless, but it is good to see Google opening up English content to the rest of the world. Of course the same could be said in reverse. If you had the ability to search for English phrases in a Japanese search engine maybe it would be easier to find Yahoo’s translator page :)

    Still a step in the right direction for Google though.

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