Google and Bing not only have their API-based translation, but also their websites which allow for one-off translation.

While these are intended for use by humans, this also allows for a webcrawler to automatically crawl the site and obtain translations of short phrases. If a human were to manually browse to a given provider's translation site and input a phrase to be translated, then stick it up on their blog, it seems like this would be a reasonable use.

However, what are the implications of crawling a translation service to obtain the results by proxy for the user? Sort of like TranslationParty but being ad-supported rather than ad-free?

The terms and conditions for Google, for example, seem pretty straightforward about fair use of their translation API, but use of the site interface seems unclear.

  • Are you asking whether it is legal and ethical to automate queries Google and Bing's translation service websites to obtain translated text to use on your own website? – Stephen Ostermiller Aug 31 '13 at 9:41
  • Correct, though the automation would occur as a result of a user's actions through my website, not a wholly automated process. The user would initiate the communication and the site would facilitate their obtaining translated text. – Darth Continent Sep 3 '13 at 19:08

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice and I am not a lawyer. On scraping, Wikipedia says:

Web scraping may be against the terms of use of some websites. The enforceability of these terms is unclear. While outright duplication of original expression will in many cases be illegal, in the United States the courts ruled in Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service that duplication of facts is allowable.

This is a legal gray area. If you do it, it is likely that Google will ignore you. However, if you are taken to court, it is likely that your will lose.

What is wrong with the API?

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