From the Chinese continental is no longer possible to reach the Google Translate site, to take advantage of the Mountain View giant’s translation service. It appears that Google has shut down its translator, after nearly two decades of compromising with Chinese censorship.
Google shuts down Translate in China
Some Reddit users first noticed this, reporting on Friday that the Google Translate site in China was no longer reachable. Then came the verification of the American press, first with Bloomberg, which however reports that Chinese users can use Hong Kong’s Google Translate via a VPN.
Google has tried a few years after its birth to bring the most used services to China. But compromises with government censorship have not always made this possible. The site and app of Google Translate only arrived in China in 2017.
Google has confirmed to several American publications that it has closed the service in China due to low usage. The global research giant has less than 2% of the Chinese market, so the numbers confirm this answer. But newspapers like TechCrunch point out that the decision came precisely as the next Congress of the Chinese Communist Party approaches.
Many commentators therefore see the political censorship that all services must undergo in China as a limitation for Google. The Californian giant had already thought of launching a version of its search engine for the Cina (Project Dragonfly)which was subject to the Beijing censorship. But the proposals of Google’s internal teams also blocked the project.
In the past year, Google has refused to provide data to Hong Kong authorities after Cinea took control of the island, and so on April had censored the official Hong Kong channel on YouTube that criticized American sanctions.
In short, the decision seems as much political as it is economicto. What is certain is that another translation service will be needed from China: Google Translate is no longer reachable.