This new service takes search queries submitted in German, translates the query into English and French, and then allows the searcher to quickly find and read not only German language material but also English language content that has been mechanically translated into German.
Why are they doing this?
Via the Yahoo Search Blog:
If you can't read English, you can't make use of more than half of the web's information. For example, a searcher in Germany can only access less than 10% of the web in German.
Technology from Systran powers the translation. Systran also powers Yahoo's Babelfish translation service.
If you don't speak German, YSB offers a couple of examples to see precisely how the service operates.
Yahoo's Eckart Walther told News.com that Yahoo Search Translator for French content is in the works with other languages becoming available within the next year.
Smart move by Yahoo pointing out on their blog that mechanical translation is good but far from perfect.
Nevertheless, it's an interesting and potentially very powerful idea.
Back in January I posted a brief item about Babelplex. This service leverages Google's translation software to translate queries from one language to another. Users can then click and translate entire web pages if necessary.
Btw, Yahoo Search also launched their new German language blog today.