Google’s Translation Hub puts professional-grade machine translation into business users’ hands

Google’s Translation Hub puts professional-grade machine translation into business users’ hands

 A few weeks ago, at the opening keynote of the Google Cloud Next ‘22 event, Google CEO Sundar Pichai introduced Translation Hub, its new self-service translation document translation services platform that uses machine translation to translate large volumes of text into many different languages.

With Translation Hub, users can upload a document to be translated and select all of the languages they need translated, and get the translations back within seconds. This is a step up from their free document translation offering at Google Translate, which is much simpler.

Like with Google Translate’s document translation, Translation Hub generates translations that maintain the original document’s layout and formatting, including graphics. But what sets it apart, aside from scaling, is the option to customize the machine translation engine with glossaries and translation memories, as well as interface support for post-editing.

The concept is far from new. There is already a fair number of language service providers that offer platform-based translations featuring machine translation. These services often also include dedicated project managers and access to a team of translators or post-editors, and are mostly available on a subscription basis.

Translation Hub—Is it really a game-changer?

Translation Hub is a tool that allows businesses to build their own projects and teams in-house, removing LSPs as the middleman. But that also means that companies will then shoulder the burden that LSPs generally take, which include management of the translation project and any team of translation vendors they choose to take.

And having such a team is necessary in order to make full use of Translation Hub. As Nimdzi’s Sarah Hickey writes, “What benefit will an internal user—whose job is not translation—get from being able to see the original and the translation side by side if they are not a professional editor?”

In short, despite having the power in their hands, not all businesses will be able to make full use of Translation Hub’s potential. Which is not to say that Translation Hub is an inferior solution to hiring an LSP in all cases. As we’ve pointed out previously, machine translation can be suited to different purposes in a business setting, and not all of them require the top-notch quality offered by LSPs.

Best use cases for Translation Hub

In his speech, Pichai provided the case of Fortune 500 company Avery Dennison, which has tested Translation Hub for use in translating internal communications. This has allowed them to foster a more inclusive workplace for its global employees. The fast-paced and transitory nature of such internal communications makes hiring an LSP a less ideal choice than Translation Hub’s machine translation option.

To learn more about the different purposes machine translation is used for, check out our article: Quality of machine translation—How good does it need to be?

In cases like this, where raw machine translation is the ideal solution, Translation Hub shines, as it offers more flexibility in terms of use and also cost—its rate is set at $0.15 per page (or $0.50 for the more advanced option).

Of course, machine translation does come with risks that users need to be made aware of when using it, something that businesses must keep in mind in implementing the technology in their workflows.

Parting thoughts

Google’s Translation Hub is a new and valuable tool for businesses looking to integrate machine translation into their workflows. But as with all tools it’s up to the user to find the best ways to use it and invest in the other things necessary to use it to its full potential, and it can open up a new world of possibilities for those that do.