>online spotlight Mary Ellen Bates
Bates Information Services
Not Quite Lost in Translation?
AS a native English-speaker, I always get nervous
when I need to search content that’s presented in a
foreign language. In the past, I simply relied on the value-
English. The page has two columns, with the original-lan-
guage and translated versions side by side.
Similar to the site-search feature of Google or Yahoo! that
added online services, which often add English-language limits your search to only pages within a particular domain, I
abstracts or subject terms to non-English articles. That was also used Google Translated Search to run a search within one
usually enough to at least get a quick and dirty answer. I organization’s website by including inurl:the-organi
recently had a more challenging example of searching in zation’s-domain in the search terms to be translated.
other languages, and I was surprised at what I could find. The Google is smart enough not to translate inurl: into another
pain I experienced in dealing with free translation software, language; unfortunately, it isn’t smart enough to know that
however, was not a surprise. But I get ahead of myself. site: should not be translated, hence my use of inurl: as
I received an assignment from a client to find out about the a rough filter.
leading nonprofits in Brazil that focused on diabetes. It had to Thus, I was able to use Google Translated Search to discover
be done quickly, and she needed a fairly comprehensive pro- the Portuguese word for partnership, search within the orga-
file of how each organization pursued its goals, whether they nization’s (Portuguese-only) website for any partnerships the
were more research- or activism-oriented, and what their key organization entered into, and retrieve the results in English.
messages were. It was a fairly straightforward process to find I also needed news stories about the organizations, and,
the leading organizations in each country from English-lan- just my luck, there was virtually no relevant news about them
guage sources. But then I had to delve into Portuguese to get in English. I started out by searching Google News Archive
news coverage and to explore each organization’s site. (http://news.google.com/archivesearch) for mentions of the
My first approach was to paste each page’s URL into Google organizations. Since I used the Portuguese version of the
Translate (http://translate.google.com) and Ya