Making Translations Easier

- by Michael Stillman

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Before and after – click the “Translate” button at the top to translate text.

The Americana Exchange is the world's greatest source for listings and results from auctions in the field of books, ephemera, and works on paper. This site tracks over 150 auction houses, posts listings before the sale, and posts results afterward. Listings can be readily found by keyword via the site's search engine. These services are offered free. Paid subscribers also gain access to the AE Database, containing over 5 million records, mostly from past auctions, from a few days to over a century old.

 

Those familiar with this site will also know that “Americana” is a misnomer, a name left over from another time. The site tracks auctions all over the world. Auctions followed aren't limited to the English-speaking world, though auctions are tracked from the U.S., England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and South Africa. Other auctions followed come from lands where other languages are spoken – France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Austria, Spain, Belgium, and Mexico. Most of the listings at these auctions, and some in English-speaking lands as well, are not written in English. However, descriptions of these lots may be of interest to you. Researchers using the AE Database, in particular, may need to understand the descriptions. This won't be easy if you do not speak the language.

 

This brings us to one of those wonders of modern technology – Google Translate. It isn't perfect. Indeed, it isn't. Nonetheless, it can usually manage to be decent. Considering what it has to do, it can be downright amazing. More often than not, you will come away with a reasonable understanding of what is being said.

 

I have used it for years, and for years I have opened up the Google Translate page in a separate window, copied entries from the AE Database or auction listings, and pasted them on the Google page. It is a bit of a nuisance, particularly if you are looking through a lot of listings.

 

A while back, Google updated its Chrome browser to provide this option automatically. It saves a lot of time. The option to translate is right there when you go to the listings. Click a button and it's done. No copying, no pasting.

 

However, you do need to use the Chrome browser. I have long used Firefox myself, and Internet Explorer is still the most popular browser. Nonetheless, if you are looking for convenience in translating auction listings, or anything else for that matter, this is one time when using Google Chrome is a definite plus. It will save you much time. The same applies if you are visiting websites in another language. The ability to translate on the spot is very handy.

 

Google can usually figure out what the language is you wish to translate. If not, it is easy enough to choose. Now Google is not perfect. Sometimes it does not realize the listing is in a language foreign to you. You may have to go to the Google Translate page if it can't figure this out. Sometimes listings are written in multiple languages, and this can throw Google off. However, I find that most of the time Google recognizes it is a different language, knows which language it is, and offers the option to translate it. Technology is wonderful.

 

To download the Google Chrome browser, click the following link: www.google.com/chrome