Google Docs, the online word processing and spreadsheet service from Google now offers translation of documents for 42 different languages. Such initiatives essentially help Google increase the amount of local language content available across the web. Note that translation has not been enabled for spreadsheets.

googledocs-translation

We tried translating a document from English to Hindi, to French, and finally back to English. Some words – uncommon proper nouns like my surname – were not translated, though my first name was. The problem with automated translation is that when sentences in one language are translated into another, the context is sometimes lost, leading to disastrous (or hilarious) results. Nevertheless, for those who know multiple languages, the availability of an easy document translation tool could help reduce the workload.

Transliteration Bookmarket Doesn’t Work With Google Docs

As important as translation is transliteration, which allows using an English keyboard to type in Indian languages. However, much to my disappointment, I found that Google Docs doesn’t yet support Transliteration. What’s more, even the Transliteration bookmarklet that Google introduced to enable typing in Indian languages in any form, did not work in Google Docs. In contrast, competitor Quillpad has had a transliteration based document creation for quite a while. It allows users to create documents in Indian languages, and save and email them. I wonder why Quillpad hasn’t expanded its transliteration to other languages, though.

Related
— YouTube India Embraces Hindi; No Transliteration; Subtitles?
— Google’s New Translater Toolkit; Will It Be Used?
— Quillpad Launches Commercial Widget For Transliteration; Comparison With Google; Clients
— Facebook Connect Adds Support For 6 Indian Languages; Boost To Regional Websites
— Google Introduces Transliteration Bookmarklets For 5 Indian Languages