Foreign language reviews can be translated automatically with the tap of a button: you can interpret one review or all reviews in one go. The feature works for all 15 officially supported Yelp languages spanning 27 countries: English, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Spanish, Italian, Norwegian, French, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish, and Japanese.
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We all know the (sometimes ridiculous) inaccuracies that plague services like Google Translate and Bing Translator, but Yelp thinks the tradeoff is worth the hassle:
Although machine-translation is not perfect, it’s a fantastic resource for understanding the overall meaning and context of a review that would otherwise be unavailable to a Yelper who does not speak that language. Use this feature to get a general idea of a reviewer’s experience, but understand that some details may be lost in translation.
The new feature should be a very useful tool when traveling. That works both ways: users get to avoid tourist traps and discover gems while local businesses increase their chances of enjoying international customers.
Review translation is only available on mobile devices. While iPhone users can take advantage starting today, Yelp says it will come to Android “soon” but unfortunately wouldn’t specify an exact timeframe.
This is also a huge win for Microsoft, which has managed to convince Yelp that its service is worth using over Google’s. As Bing Translator improves, so will the translation of Yelp’s review translations, and as it is used more for reviews, Bing Translator will have more data to improve with.
See also – Yelp confirms Harvard study about fraudulent reviews, says its algorithm discards 25% of user submissions and After acquiring the online reservation startup, Yelp adds option to book SeatMe reservations from its listings
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