Google adapts its terms and conditions – and its language

I’ve got set up as my browser home page. I usually just glance at the little announcements under the logo and search box. However, this morning I noticed the announcement on the changes to their terms and conditions. It said:

We’re changing our privacy policy and terms. Not the usual yada yada. Learn more

I was curious to see if the UK site also used the term “not the usual yada yada”. It didn’t:

We’re changing our privacy policy and terms. This stuff matters. Learn more

The French site has:

Nos règles de confidentialité et d’utilisation évoluent. En plus clair et plus concis. En savoir plus

And the Italian site has the bald:

Stiamo cambiando le norme sulla privacy e i termini di servizio. Ulteriori informazioni

So in Google’s view, do Italians dislike a touch of informality in their terms and conditions announcements ? Is the concept of “clearer and more concise” anathema to them? (Judging by the material I translate, I’d have to answer “yes” to that one).

Any thoughts? Italian readers, your views are very welcome! What do other countries’ sites say?

By Marian Dougan

12 responses

  1. Was curious to see what the German version said: “Wir ändern unsere Datenschutzbestimmungen und Nutzungsbedingungen. Mehr erfahren”

    I’m not in the least surprised… :-]

  2. Interesting. In Spain it’s “Hemos actualizado nuestra política de privacidad y los términos y condiciones. Más información” – so, similar to the Italians. How popular is Google in these countries? Is there a different brand identity?

  3. What surprises me to a degree is that the privacy policy itself hasn’t been changed according to country. It’s clear that split testing is applicable for marketing purposes only and the business end of the proposal befits all users regardless of origin.

  4. The Slovene site says “Spreminjamo pravilnik o zasebnosti in pogoje. To je pomembno. Več o tem” – “We’re changing our privacy policy and conditions. This is important. More about it”. – closer to the English phrasing

  5. Interested in your comment about the Italian being ‘bald’ (let alone the etymology of that word….)

    Italian often seems like that – you often hear ‘fammi un cafe- Make me a coffee!’ at the bar. There’ll be a ‘thank you’ when it arrives but very often there’s no please and it sounds like an order. Ye at other times the language can SO florid that translated directly into English it sounds absurdly gushing!

    1. Good point – there can be an odd contrast between the brusqueness of everyday transactions (especially where bureaucrats are concerned!) and the floridity of much written Italian. Including where it’s not appropriate, eg websites.

  6. So…recently I’ve learnt that to the italian public the sense of humor of Lonely Planet’s writers isn’t, sometimes, deferential. So the editor wants the translators to be more serious in his italian version….what a pity!


  7. Same thing applies for localization: Microsoft guidelines indicate to expunge from the text (American English) anything too “personal” or “informal”…

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