Google Translate Equilibrium Finder and Google Books Ngrams

A few days ago, in the post Translate to Google Statistical (“Google Standard”?!) English?, Iwondered whether there were any apps that looked for convergence of phrases going from one language, to another, and back again until a limit was reached. A comment from Erik at posted a link to Translation Party, a single web page app that looks for limit cycles between English and Japanese (as a default).

Having a look at the source, it seems there’s a switch to let you search for limits between English and other languages too, as the following screenshot shows:

Translation Party - Google trasnlation limit finder

(Though I have to admit I don’t fully understand why the phrase in the above example appears to map to two different French translations?!)

Here’s another – timely – example, showing the dangers of this iterative approach to translation…

The switch is the URL argument lang=LANGUAGE_CODE, so for example, the French translation can be cued using

Another fun toy for the holiday break is the Google Books Ngrams trends viewer, that plots the occurrence of searched for phrases across a sample of books scanned as part of the Google Books project.,religion,science&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3

Here’s another one:,pop+music,disco&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3

This is reminiscent of other trendspotting tools such as Google Trends (time series trends in Google search), or Trendistic ((time series trends in Twitter), which long-time readers may recall I’ve posted about before. (See also: Trendspotting, the webrhythms hashtag archive.)

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...