"We feel that launching Persian is particularly important now, given ongoing events in Iran," Franz Och, principal scientist for Google Translate, said on Google's Web site. "Like YouTube and other services, Google Translate is one more tool that Persian speakers can use to communicate directly to the world, and vice versa -- increasing everyone's access to information."
Protests have been happening daily since the June 12 election in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the landslide winner over his nearest challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, prompting cries of ballot fraud. The Iranian government has cracked down on media coverage of opposition rallies, and installed firewalls to hamper or block access to Internet social networking sites such as Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Facebook.
The addition of Persian to the free Google Translate "means you can now translate any text from Persian into English and from English into Persian -- whether it's a news story, a Web site, a blog, an e-mail, a tweet or a Facebook message," the comments posted Thursday said.
Och said Persian-English translations are available and Google is "working hard to improve Persian translation for the additional 40 languages available via Google Translate."
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