A few weeks ago I reported that Google had initiated billing for the popular Translate API. Now Google has made it official, announcing on its Google Code blog that it released the first paid version of the Translate API. How much will it cost? Says Google Translate project manager Jeff Chin:
Translation costs $20 per million (M) characters of text translated (or approximately $0.05/page, assuming 500 words/page).
Which means that every 10,000 words will cost about 1US$ (or one ten-thousandth of a cent per word, let’s see any human translator match that price). Is that a fair price? I think it is. Just that software developers will need to rethink their business model and start reselling the translations for a profit.
Up to now, most of the software developers who were getting free translations from Google were using their applications as a come-on to attract new customers or for SEO purposes. A case in point is Ackuna, the cloud translation website. Now that they will need to start paying Google for translations, Ackuna will either need to start charging for translation or will need to absorb additional running costs. Many other software developers will be faced with the same dilemna.
But one thought comes to mind. Is the initial price offer by Google final? Let’s say that thousands of developers start paying to use the Translate API. What’s to stop Google from raising prices due to the increase in demand. Developers will need to live with that uncertainty and decide if is worth the risk and develop products around the Translate API. Google already went from free to paid, proving that business is business. Or in the words of the immortal George Bernard Shaw:
What do you take me for? A prostitute? George Bernard Shaw: Madam, we’ve established that already. We’re just trying to fix your price now!
- Google Translate API is Back… For a Fee (programmableweb.com)
- Chrome Extension Translates Google+ Posts & Comments (mashable.com)
- Paid version of Google Translate API now open for business (googlecode.blogspot.com)