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Smash language barriers with Google's “translated foreign pages”

Challenge: How do you overcome the language barrier when scouting for international business opportunities online?

Solution: "Translated foreign pages" – a little-known app on every Google search results page – allows you to instantly search the web in more than 50 languages.

How does it work? First, Google translates your English keywords (say, "accountant") into your target languages. In this example, let's use Filipino and German. That means Google translates the word "accountant" into Filipino ("tagatuos") and into German ("buchhalter").

Next, Google searches online for those translated words in those target languages. That means Google searches for the term "tagatuos" on Filipino websites and for "buchhalter" on German language websites.

Google then returns results for those translated searches. In this case, Google returns 2,200 results for "tagatuos" and 1,290,000 results for "buchhalter." For the big finish, Google translates all these search results back into English. That's amazing enough, but the app continues to translate as you click through to the target language website. It sticks in your browser even when you navigate to different pages on that website, download a PDF or other file or even jump to other websites in the target languages. All this happens virtually instantaneously – as you click and type, Google translates in real time. How cool is that?

How "translated foreign pages" can help your business: The implications of this tool are staggering. With one simple click, the app transforms a routine web search into a cross-linguistic reconnaissance mission that smashes through traditional language and cultural walls. What once may have been unintelligible to your eye – Arabic script, the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, Chinese symbols – are now suddenly and magically transformed into text you can read and at least partially understand.

Usage tips: To access the tool, you'll need to dig a bit. Go to www.google.com and type your keywords in the search box. A sidebar will appear on the left side of the screen. Now scan down the sidebar and look for the "more search tools" link. Click that and another set of search links appear. At the bottom of that column is – finally – the "translated foreign pages" link. Select that and Google will provide translated results for your original search in a number of default languages – typically Spanish, German, Italian and French.

To select another language, click the "add language" link and choose from dozens of languages, including traditional Chinese, Greek and Turkish. From there, tinker with different keywords and languages. You're guaranteed to discover fresh perspectives and leads.

Bottom line: While the "translated foreign pages" app is by no means a complete translation solution or intended to replace human translators (who are essential when preparing official contracts or other key business documents), the tool recalibrates your "English only" information lens and adds stunning new language filters and capabilities.

It makes you instantly multilingual (at least when you search) and blows open the doors to countless new business intelligence, contacts and opportunities that may have been previously invisible to you.

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