Proposal:Offer Google translation services with cursor hover over word in webpage

From Strategic Planning
Status (see valid statuses)

The status of this proposal is:
Request for Discussion / Sign-Ups

Every proposal should be tied to one of the strategic priorities below.

Edit this page to help identify the priorities related to this proposal!

  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


Offer Google translation services for any page in the Wiki. Allow a hover of the cursor over a word (or of selected text) to translate that text in a popup (like the Google toolbar translation feature). A tab (or link) can turn this feature on or off, and also allow switching of languages.

The code put up by this proposal has recently become a Gadget on enwiki. An earlier version of this software has run on the ptwiki for 11 months now and receives about 400 hits a day.


Many intermediate English language users of the English Wikipedia need help with individual words in an English Wikipedia article. Have some javascript determine the word (or selected text) the cursor is over and popup a google translation of that word or selected text.

This javascript will thus allow 41 languages to be translated into 41 other languages. It will allow translation of selected text (up to 500 characters). It is thus a generalization and extension of the Google toolbar translation feature which currently only translates single words from English to 10 other languages.

My monobook.js file already has javascript that does this in the English Wikipedia. Earlier code that did the same thing has been a Wiki gadget in the Spanish and Portuguese wikipedias for over 6 months now.

You can include this code within your monobook.js file by including:


// remember to clear the cache after adding this code to your monobook.js file

and try it out. A tab at the top of the window allows the feature to be turned on or off and allows changing of languages. See my user (Endo999) page for more info.

I use the feature to translate French and Spanish, of which I am only an intermediate user. It's much quicker than looking up the dictionary by hand.


Allow intermediate English learners to more easily read enwiki articles.

Allow English language speakers easier access to languages like Portuguese, of which they will only have a modest ability in (such as if they know some Spanish, but not Portuguese).

Allow cross readership of the wikis.

Key Questions

  • Is the machine translation system implemented as free software ?

GoogleTrans currently uses Google translation services. This is just a software call. The javascript file can easily be changed to call any webbased translation service. The call to a translation service is a very small part of the code for the gadget in question and can be changed easily.

Potential Costs

The code is already a gadget on the enwiki under the name GoogleTrans.

Comparisions vs Other Translation Software

A website based Javascript file, this software has all the versatility and speed of its 3 main competitors:

1) Internet Explorer v8 has a selection text based translation service.
No need to install any javascript file on any website
Slower than GoogleTrans. Need to 1) select text, 2) click on special selection icon that appears, 3) then click on menu item to translate.
Is slow to translate single words. Cannot just position cursor over word and get translation like Google toolbar translation feature or GoogleTrans. Many intermediate learners of a language only need single words translated and do not need whole sentences translated.
Only works on one version of IE.
2) Google Toolbar Translation Feature
Quick to use, simply position cursor over word and get multiple translations for that word
No need to install javascript file on any website
Even the new version only translates from English to 21 other languages, while GoogleTrans will do 51.
Does not do selection based translation, which GoogleTrans does and IE8 does.
Only works on IE, and Firefox.
Need to have administrative privs on the PC you are using the toolbar on in order to install it. This is not possible at many schools or companies that have restrictive environments.
3) gTranslate -- Firefox addin
no need to install javascript file on website
will translate 51 languages to 51 other languages
Not as fast to translate single words and even selected text. More mouse selections and mouse clicks necessary than compared with Google Toolbar or GoogleTrans.
Does not seem to do more than a few words of translation (My understanding of the tool may be deficient here). Google can translate up to 500 characters of text at a time but gTranslate does not seem to be able to show 500 characters of translation.
Only works on Firefox.
4) GoogleTrans
Quick to translate single words and/or selected text. Need only to position cursor over word or selected text and hit shift key.
Does all translations that Google can do. More than Google toolbar can do.
Supports all browsers except Konqueror.
Allows translation popups to happen on pcs where the user cannot install toolbars or addons (like schools and businesses that have restrictive environments).
Need to install 66kb javascript file as part of webpage or website.


Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:Offer Google translation services with cursor hover over word in webpage.

Want to work on this proposal?

  1. .. Sign your name here!

Endo999 06:25, 10 August 2010 (UTC) (I wrote the gadget which is on enwiki for a year now)