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There is a new Viewer 3 available that supports both the free Microsoft and Google translation services, so you no longer need to wear my translator: http://secondlife.com/support/download/
As you may already know, back in December Google announced that they stopped the free Translate API v1 and they dropped all free translation on December 1, 2011. As a result, all viewers will require updates to continue with any translation. Only Viewer 3 has and Firestorm have this feature.Google Translate was shut off completely on the same date (December 1, 2011); it was officially deprecated on May 26, 2011. You will still be able to use Google translate, but it will cost you $20.00 minimum.
Now what is really bad is that on 9/14/2011, Microsoft changed policy from a free service to the bare minimum of only 2,000 free translations a month. The depressing part is that the Microsoft Bing translator, limited as it is, is still probably the best way for anyone to get free, useful translations in Second Life. If you are one of the half of SL that does not 'speak' English, this is very bad news.
Client-side translators are a good thing to use. But most people will need to fall back on the old copy and pasting of chat onto a web browser window because of the costs and difficulties involved in setting up the new viewer.
You will be able to choose from any of the following:
2) Bing will give you 2,000 translations per month for free. You must register with Microsoft or use a hotmail.com account to get free translations.
3) Purchase another scripted HUD translator, and since until now those all depended upon the free service, I expect most of them must switch to a Microsoft system, a rental plan or pay-as-you use plan.
Google costs $20 for up to 1,000,000 characters, or about 200,000 words. There is no free option with Google. They require billing information before you can start using the service.
Microsoft Bing offers a limited a free translation service. They have a has a 'basic' free account, which as of today is now limited to 2000 translations per month. According to their web page, Microsoft now wants $40 for the 2001th to the 3999th translation in any given month. They will charge your credit card $40 when you go over the 2,000th translation! Ouch!
They say "Each page of results returned from a query uses a single transaction(tx) and will count toward your transaction limit. ." Since in Second Life a line of chat is a page, this is really bad news for Second Life users that depend upon translators. It will still be useful to many users, but non-English speakers represent more than half of the user base, and they will suffer. I was able to easily use up all 2,000 in a single evening teaching someone to open boxes.
Enabling the new features
The translator that is built into the viewer only works in local chat, and is disabled by default. There is a new screen to enable the chat preferences. You first type Ctrl + P or go to the Preferences. Click the Chat tab, and at the bottom is a new Translation Settings button:
After clicking Translation Settings, you get a new floating screen:
The challenge is that you need a Bing or Google account, and some geekiness to navigate through their setup. Vadim Productengine has put in handy links to both the Google and Bing API sign-up screens.
Microsoft Bing requires you to have a free Bing account, or a hotmail email address. Starting today developers can directly sign up for the Microsoft Translator service on the Windows Azure Marketplace. The basic subscription of 2,000 translations a month is free. After that, the costs go up rapidly, from $40 a month for 4,000 transactions a month, and each additional $20 will get another 2000 transactions per month.
Google requires you to have a Google account, then to enable translation services and also to pay $20 US via Google checkout. Google also gives you some nice tools to view how many translations have occurred.
One you get your AppID from Bing, or an API Key from Google, you click the enable button at the top, click the radio button to the left of the service that you want to use, and then and only then can you paste in your API key. This was confusing to me. I could not paste my key in until I enabled the "Use machine translation while chatting" button at the top. I expected that I could copy and paste my key right away. Also, the key is in plain text. Since it is worth money, I would hope this would be changed to a password field. The Jira for this is https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/STORM-1577
There is also a handy 'verify' button that double checks that you have a valid key. Other than my confusion on pasting in my API key, this is a very good user interface design.
Now that your translator is ready for use, you have one more control. Click the arrow next to the chat box to open up the chat window, and at the top you will see an checkbox to enable and disable the translator.
Why do I need a scripted translators?
The viewer version is superior to scripted translators in several ways, but it does have a problem other than costs and difficulty in using it. It is receive-only. This means you cannot talk to someone and tell them how to activate the translation service. So a HUD translator will still a necessity for many people.
When you use the viewer translator, all work is done is entirely client-side, and not at the server. Server-scripted translator HUDS all run on the server and can cause all scripts to slow down, especially at large venues.
What to do?
If you are a casual user of translation services, Bing is the way to go. Turn of the translate chat button when you don't need translation services. Use either Bing or Googles web site when you need to teach someone to enable the translator.
If you are one of the 60% of the non-english speaking poopulation, a a heavy user of translation, then Google is still the way to go. Your $20 will go a long way, perhaps as long as a year. Microsofts' $40 a month payment is way out of reach for less than half the languages.
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