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Google Translator

, 6 Aug 2015 CPOL
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An object that harnesses the power of Google's online natural language translation tools.

GoogleTranslator was originally written when screen scraping was the only way to access Google's online translation tools. As has been rightly pointed out in this article's forum, a more modern approach would be to use Google's AJAX APIs. See this link for more information. This screen scraper version of GoogleTranslator continues to be maintained at the request of CP readers.

This latest version of GoogleTranslator utilizes Google Translate's AJAX APIs to translate text and retrieves the translation by parsing the returned JSON content. Thanks to CPians @Member 9899010 and @bgsjust for pointing me to these APIs. The latest version of the code also includes the ability to speak the translation from the demo app. Because Google limits the speech to common words in a few languages, don't be surprised if the demo plays dumb when you try to speak your translated text!

What is it?

GoogleTranslator in action GoogleTranslator is an object that allows you to translate text using the power of Google's online language tools. The demo app also allows you to easily perform a reverse translation. The app can be used as a poor man's resource translator for simple phrases, but you'd be wise to confirm the translation with a native speaker before using the results.

How do I use it?

You use GoogleTranslator by constructing it and calling its Translate() method.

    using RavSoft.GoogleTranslator;
    Translator t = new GoogleTranslator();
    string translation = t.Translate ("Hello, how are you?", "English", "French");
    Console.WriteLine (translation);
    Console.WriteLine ("Translated in " + t.TranslationTime.TotalMilliseconds + " mSec");
    Console.WriteLine ("Translated speech = " + t.TranslationSpeechUrl);

How it works

GoogleTranslator works by directly invoking Google's translation API called by its online translation form and parsing the results.

    // Initialize
    this.Error = null;
    this.TranslationSpeechUrl = null;
    this.TranslationTime = TimeSpan.Zero;
    DateTime tmStart = DateTime.Now;
    string translation = string.Empty;

    try {
        // Download translation
        string url = string.Format ("{0}" +
                                    "&tl={1}&hl=en&dt=bd&dt=ex&dt=ld&dt=md&dt=qc&dt=rw&dt=rm&dt=ss&dt=t" +
                                    Translator.LanguageEnumToIdentifier (sourceLanguage),
                                    Translator.LanguageEnumToIdentifier (targetLanguage),
                                    HttpUtility.UrlEncode (sourceText));
        string outputFile = Path.GetTempFileName();
        using (WebClient wc = new WebClient ()) {
            wc.Headers.Add ("user-agent", "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1) AppleWebKit/537.36 " +
                                          "(KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/41.0.2228.0 Safari/537.36");
            wc.DownloadFile(url, outputFile);

        // Get translated text
        if (File.Exists (outputFile)) {

            // Get phrase collection
            string text = File.ReadAllText(outputFile);
            int index = text.IndexOf (string.Format(",,\"{0}\"", Translator.LanguageEnumToIdentifier (sourceLanguage)));
            if (index == -1) {
                // Translation of single word
                int startQuote = text.IndexOf('\"');
                if (startQuote != -1) {
                    int endQuote = text.IndexOf('\"', startQuote + 1);
                    if (endQuote != -1) {
                        translation = text.Substring(startQuote + 1, endQuote - startQuote - 1);
            else {
                // Translation of phrase
                text = text.Substring(0, index);
                text = text.Replace("],[", ",");
                text = text.Replace("]", string.Empty);
                text = text.Replace("[", string.Empty);
                text = text.Replace("\",\"", "\"");

            // Get translated phrases
            string[] phrases = text.Split (new[] { '\"' }, StringSplitOptions.RemoveEmptyEntries);
            for (int i=0; (i < phrases.Count()); i += 2) {
                string translatedPhrase = phrases[i];
                if (translatedPhrase.StartsWith(",,")) {
                translation += translatedPhrase + "  ";

            // Fix up translation
            translation = translation.Trim();
            translation = translation.Replace(" ?", "?");
            translation = translation.Replace(" !", "!");
            translation = translation.Replace(" ,", ",");
            translation = translation.Replace(" .", ".");
            translation = translation.Replace(" ;", ";");

            // And translation speech URL
            this.TranslationSpeechUrl = string.Format (""+
                                                       HttpUtility.UrlEncode (translation),
                                                       Translator.LanguageEnumToIdentifier (targetLanguage),
    catch (Exception ex) {
        this.Error = ex;

    // Return result
    this.TranslationTime = DateTime.Now - tmStart;
    return translation;

As you can see, the logic used to parse the JSON result is very simple!

Speaking the translation

The Translator object retrieves the URL that will stream the spoken version of the translation. The demo app speaks this content by navigating to this URL in a hidden browser control. As mentioned in the preamble, because Google limits the speech to common words in a few languages, don't be surprised if the demo plays dumb when you try to speak your translated text!

Revision History

  • 6 Aug 2015
    Corrected parsing logic.  Fix identified by Member 11019371.  Thank you!
  • 6 May 2015
    Corrected parsing logic to fix translation of single words.
  • 5 May 2015
    Corrected Google URL.
    Removed all external dependencies.
  • 9 Mar 2014
    Switched to using Google's JSON translation APIs.
    Added TranslationTime and TranslationSpeakUrl properties.
    Tweaked demo app UI to assist in reverse translation and resetting an English source and target.
  • 13 Jan 2013
    Added support for current full language set.
    Refixed bug that limited translation to first sentence.
    Fixed a bug that caused reverse translation to fail when accented characters were present.
  • 10 Mar 2010
    Added support for current full language set.
    Fixed bug that limited translation to first sentence.
  • 15 Feb 2010
    Even more parsing tweakage.
  • 28 Mar 2009
    More parsing tweakage.
  • 20 Mar 2007
    Tweaked parsing logic to conform to changes at Google's website.
  • 15 Jan 2006
    Initial version.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Ravi Bhavnani
Technical Lead
Canada Canada
Ravi Bhavnani is an ardent fan of Microsoft technologies who loves building Windows apps, especially PIMs, system utilities, and things that go bump on the Internet. During his career, Ravi has developed expert systems, desktop imaging apps, marketing automation software, EDA tools, a platform to help people find, analyze and understand information, trading software for institutional investors and advanced data visualization solutions. He currently works for a company that provides enterprise workforce management solutions to large clients.

His interests include the .NET framework, reasoning systems, financial analysis and algorithmic trading, NLP, HCI and UI design. Ravi holds a BS in Physics and Math and an MS in Computer Science and was a Microsoft MVP (C++ and C# in 2006 and 2007). He is also the co-inventor of 2 patents on software security and generating data visualization dashboards. His claim to fame is that he crafted CodeProject's "joke" forum post icon.

Ravi's biggest fear is that one day he might actually get a life, although the chances of that happening seem extremely remote.

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Comments and Discussions

Questionshorter way how to parse google response result ... Pin
Zalmanek11hrs 14mins ago
memberZalmanek11hrs 14mins ago 
Questiongoogle translate Pin
Reggie van Kerkhoven23-Nov-15 0:49
memberReggie van Kerkhoven23-Nov-15 0:49 
QuestionGoogle translate Pin
Reggie van Kerkhoven21-Nov-15 5:59
memberReggie van Kerkhoven21-Nov-15 5:59 
AnswerRe: Google translate Pin
Ravi Bhavnani21-Nov-15 7:56
professionalRavi Bhavnani21-Nov-15 7:56 
Question(503) Server Unavailable Pin
jagdishKotian16-Nov-15 5:50
memberjagdishKotian16-Nov-15 5:50 
AnswerRe: (503) Server Unavailable Pin
Ravi Bhavnani16-Nov-15 6:51
professionalRavi Bhavnani16-Nov-15 6:51 
GeneralRe: (503) Server Unavailable Pin
jagdishKotian17-Nov-15 5:05
memberjagdishKotian17-Nov-15 5:05 
AnswerRe: (503) Server Unavailable Pin
Ravi Bhavnani17-Nov-15 5:29
professionalRavi Bhavnani17-Nov-15 5:29 
GeneralRe: (503) Server Unavailable Pin
jagdishKotian17-Nov-15 5:38
memberjagdishKotian17-Nov-15 5:38 
QuestionError 503 Pin
anga4-Oct-15 21:55
memberanga4-Oct-15 21:55 
AnswerRe: Error 503 Pin
Ravi Bhavnani5-Oct-15 9:56
professionalRavi Bhavnani5-Oct-15 9:56 
GeneralRe: Error 503 Pin
anga5-Oct-15 20:54
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GeneralRe: Error 503 Pin
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GeneralRe: Error 503 Pin
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GeneralRe: Error 503 Pin
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GeneralRe: Error 503 Pin
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AnswerRe: Error 503 Pin
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GeneralRe: Error 503 Pin
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GeneralRe: Error 503 Pin
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GeneralRe: Error 503 Pin
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GeneralRe: Error 503 Pin
Danauktion.net7-Nov-15 0:51
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GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Dmitriy Gakh3-Sep-15 3:09
memberDmitriy Gakh3-Sep-15 3:09 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 Pin
Ravi Bhavnani3-Sep-15 6:52
professionalRavi Bhavnani3-Sep-15 6:52 
QuestionNice Article. but what about large text!! Pin
hongylover24-Aug-15 23:57
memberhongylover24-Aug-15 23:57 
AnswerRe: Nice Article. but what about large text!! Pin
Ravi Bhavnani25-Aug-15 3:43
professionalRavi Bhavnani25-Aug-15 3:43 

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