Google has yet another bragging point that they've used a blog post to talk about: Google Translate is used by more than 200 million people per month. What some more number stats? Break this number down, and Google translates the equivalent to as much text you'd find in 1 million books. Wow.
Franz Och, a research scientist with Google Translate discusses how Google's translation service has grown through the years. Back in 2001, Gogole offered a service that could translate eight different languages to and from English. This service used state-of-the-art commercial machine translation (MT) and whilst it worked, it wasn't efficient, or very effective.
The service didn't really go well, and in 2003 Google decided to make some changes, one of these key steps was hiring Och away from his research position at DARPA. The team was then able to use Google's massive computing infrastructure, and got some very strong results, but it still wasn't quick enough for practical use. It took Google 40 hours and 1,000 computers to translate 1,000 sentences.