Google adds Persian to machine translation service

New language is added as post-election protests grip the country

As the Internet becomes a more important path for information between Iran and the rest of the world, Google has added support for Persian to its Google Translate service.

Google didn't specifically tie the release of the service to the post-election protests that are currently gripping Iran but noted on a company blog that the release is "particularly important now, given ongoing events in Iran."

Social media has proved key in helping people communicate and get around government censorship and Google noted the service could be used to translate "Persian into English and from English into Persian -- whether it's a news story, a website, a blog, an email, a tweet or a Facebook message."

The Internet has grown in importance in recent days after foreign journalists in Tehran to cover the election were ordered home as their visas expired and those remaining were told they could only report from their offices.

"As with all machine translation, it's not perfect yet. And we're launching this service quickly, so it may perform slowly at times. We'll keep a close watch and if it breaks, we'll restore service as quickly as we can,"

For now the service is tuned to work between Persian and English but Google said it is working to improve accuracy with the other 40 languages supported by the Google Translate service.

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Martyn Williams

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