Sogou launches Chinese language translator as it goes head to head with Google

March 13, 2018
Industry News
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Sarah Dai
sarah.dai@scmp.com

Chinese travellers may have one more essential gadget to pack for overseas trips after Sogou, China’s second largest search engine after Baidu, launched an AI-powered language translator, with more than 3,000 pre-sold within the first 24 hours.

The gadget, which went on sale Monday on e-commerce site JD.com for 1,498 yuan (US$237), can translate 17 languages – including English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, Korean and Hindi – into Chinese and vice versa through image-scanning and real time audio and text translation.

“Translation will be one of the major breakthroughs for Sogou this year,” said Wang Xiaochuan, founder and CEO of the company, which holds about 18 per cent of China’s search engine market. “We hope to make communication more convenient.”

In China’s cut throat internet industry where the winner usually takes all, Sogou is going head to head with Baidu and Google in trying to build a critical mass of users to earn advertising income from their translation services. Google, whose search engine is banned in China, re-entered the mainland Chinese market in October by promoting its Translate mobile app to a new generation of users oblivious to its brand after a seven year absence.

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