Google Translate Bridge

Made by jwchou · UNLISTED (SHOWN IN POOLS)

The Google Translate Bridge uses live Google Translate queries to display dynamically changing phrases in different languages.

Created: September 4th, 2019


This concept incorporates Google Translate to create a dynamic, ever-changing display of phrases in different languages on the Google Pittsburgh pedestrian bridge. Double-layered custom LED displays are installed on the glass walls, facing both inwards and outwards. Using live Google Translate queries, the bridge first displays a collection of phrases in English which are then translated to different languages to reflect Google's global user community.  The installation highlights Google's broad reach, as well as how its tools enable people from different cultures to communicate and exchange their points of view.

The bridge fulfills design requirements by integrating live data from Google Translate, as well as Google Translate's robust API which features dozens of languages. Google employees may choose to simply walk through the bridge and enjoy the different languages that the phrases are being translated to, or they may select a language for all of the phrases to be shown in. If no one is interacting with the bridge, the phrases are shown in their original varied translations. Because all the elements are contained on the walls of the bridge, the installation doesn't hinder the flow of traffic. In addition, the double-layered LED design allows the phrases to read from both the inside and outside, so that characters are not shown flipped.

A user who experiences the bridge from the outside can enjoy the dynamically updating phrases. First, each phrase is shown in English, and then the translated version is shown. This highlights the actual translation process. A person in the bridge can also view the same thing. However, they may interact with a large touchscreen so that all the phrases translate to a selected language. The selected language times out after 30 seconds, so that someone else may choose a language. This feature helps personalize the experience for each user. The experience may even remind a user of perhaps another country that they have visited or used to live in.


This data diagram shows how the different phrases are lifted from live Translate inquiries. A content filter makes sure no objectionable content is shown on the bridge, which is especially important because it is public-facing. 


The bill of materials is the following:

- An internet-connected computer or series of computers with software that is capable of controlling thousands of individual LEDs.

- Tens of thousands of LEDs in custom arrays

- A large touchscreen monitor

- Equipment and tools for mounting and controlling the LEDs

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The Google Translate Bridge uses live Google Translate queries to display dynamically changing phrases in different languages.