Without warning, Google Translate was disabled in China late last week. Users attempting to visit translate.google.cn are now being redirected to a generic Google search page instead.
As TechCrunch reports(Opens in a new window), a Google spokesperson has confirmed this is a deliberate move and the company decided to stop offering translation features in China “due to low usage.”
What’s unusual is the fact Google didn’t announce the service would be ending before it was turned off. That resulted in users left wondering why they couldn’t access the service anymore, but also meant the translation feature was broken in the Google Chrome browser and apps such as KOReader which relied on it.
The majority of Google services are not available to users in China, with Translate just being the latest to disappear. The translation hole left will be filled by local companies in time, no doubt. And as for low usage, according the the South China Morning Post(Opens in a new window), Google Translate had 53.5 million visits from desktop and mobile users during August alone.