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I just opened a web page in Google Chrome, and it says "This page is in Japanese, would you like to translate it?".

Asking for a translation would presumably send the contents to Google, but how is the language identified in the first place? Is this done locally, in the browser? Or does this also send the page to Google? If so, should I not be asked for permission first? The page itself has no markup to indicate the language, and it is an internal intranet page, so that I am not at all sure that Google should be having access to its content.

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The question Why does Chrome incorrectly determine page is in a different language and offer to translate? on StackOverflow gives a bunch more information about this topic, particularly the accepted answer from Emile –  Owen Blacker Nov 14 '13 at 12:22

1 Answer 1

The Chrome browser can identify, or at least guess, the page language by looking at a number of on page factors:

This can be done locally without any further internet connection or reporting to Google.

Translation of the content would definitely send the page content to Google servers for translation.

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I was once viewing an XML file in Chrome, and it told me that I was viewing a page in... some European language, Belgian maybe? This would suggest to me that some analysis of the text occurs, and went a bit wrong in my case. I can't see why English XML would have had encoding that would indicate Belgian. But yes, for something like Japanese the encoding would be a dead giveaway. –  Cam Jackson Jun 29 '11 at 5:17
    
How is UTF-8 a giveaway for Japanese? –  Thilo Jun 29 '11 at 6:10
    
@CamJackson I'm sure it was not suggesting Belgian... Maybe it was Dutch and chrome found the single letter 'ij' –  Peter Smit Jun 29 '11 at 6:38
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It's not entirely by page encoding. I have a blog (in English) that gets a decent amount of Russian comment spam. Often when I am viewing my spam bucket Chrome prompts me to translate the page. It's obviously (to me) examining the contents and being triggered with the "other language" content is over a certain percentage threshold. –  Al E. Jun 29 '11 at 13:05
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@Thilo, it’s not UTF-8 that shows that it’s Japanese, but if a large percentage of the characters on a page are from the Japanese range of Unicode, then you’ve got your answer (automated language-detection is always guess work). Failing the obvious method of checking the character-encoding, I don’t think that it does (or at least needs to) send the page to a server for detection. Have you seen the size of chrome.dll recently? It’s huge! I haven’t looked through the (massive) code recently, but no doubt there is a function or two built-in for language-detection (it’s not that hard). –  Synetech Jun 30 '11 at 1:24

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