US tech giant Google has shut down its Google Translate service in mainland China. This means the company has removed one of the very few services in the country where most Western social sites face broad censorship.
The company decided to discontinue the service citing its less use in the country. “We are discontinuing Google Translate in mainland China due to low usage,” Google said in a statement. There is no official data to determine how many users exactly were using the service.
Following the discontinuation, the Google Translate app and its web version display a generic search bar. Chinese users rather get a link that redirects to its page in Hong Kong.
Chinese users have not been able to access the service since Saturday. The translation feature is also available through the Google Chrome browser, but since the shutdown, the service is no longer working for users in China.
Google has had an adverse relationship with China. Google phased out its search engine from China in 2010 as it didn’t comply with the country’s regulations. China also blocked Gmail and Google Maps services.
Google discontinued its Translate service in China but many Western social sites face scrutiny too
It doesn’t stop with Google though. China has barred most Western social media apps and services. Most services from Google, Facebook, and Twitter are censored in China with its strict censorship policies. The Chinese government is very sensitive about what people search on the internet. Especially, its concerns emanate from politically significant matters. Anything it perceives to cause a threat to the government’s stability, it censors them.
Google made its translation service available in mainland China in 2017 via a Chinese domain. It competed with other homegrown services by Chinese companies such as Baidu, and Sogou.
Google attempted to launch a censored search engine in 2019 but scrapped the plan after a backlash.
Google Translate is a multilingual translation service developed by Google. It allows users to translate languages instantly via its web and mobile apps. The platform supports the translation of text in over 100 languages.
How often do you use the Google Translate service? Does it do a convincing job for your needs? Do share in the comments below.