Google Translate Launched in April 2006 as a statistical machine translation service, is used by the United Nations and European Parliament transcripts to gather linguistic data. It is a free multilingual machine translation service developed by Google, to translate the text. It offers a website interface, mobile apps for Android and iOS, and an API that helps developers build browser extensions and software applications. Google Translate supports over 100 languages at various levels and as of May 2017, it serves over 500 million people daily. As of 2018, it translates more than 100 billion words a day.
Google Translate for Chrome is a free online translation service that works as an extension for Google Chrome. Users simply select their target language and paste the text that they need to translate into the box on the left-hand side. Choose the language that you want the text to appear in, press the blue Translate button and you will receive your translation almost instantly.
Lost in Translation
Despite being one of the best free translation tools around, users will quickly discover that Google Translator for Chrome is far from perfect. Even simple phrases are likely to come out rather jumbled and even completely wrong. The most reliable translations are between European languages such as English, German, French, Italian and Spanish, while the add-on is next to useless when it comes to translating European languages into Asian languages and vice versa.
This software can translate multiple forms of text and media, which includes text, speech, images, and videos. Specifically, its functions include:
Written Words Translation
- A function that translates written words or text to a foreign language.
- A function that translates a whole webpage to selected languages
- A function that translates a document uploaded by the users to selected languages. The documents should be in the form of: .doc, .docx, .odf, .pdf, .ppt, .pptx, .ps, .rtf, .txt, .xls, .xlsx.
- A function that instantly translates spoken the language into the selected foreign language.
Mobile App Translation
- In 2018, Google Translate has introduced its new feature called “Tap to Translate,” which made instant translation accessible inside any apps without exiting or switching it.
- A function that identifies text in a picture taken by the users and translates text on the screen instantly.
- A function that translates a language that is handwritten on the phone screen or draw on a virtual keyboard without the support of the keyboard.
For most of its features, Google Translate provides the pronunciation, dictionary, and listen to the translation. Additionally, Google Translate has introduced its own Translate app, so the translation is available with the mobile phone in offline mode.
Google Translate can translate multiple forms of text and media, including text, speech, images, sites, or real-time video, from one language to another. It supports over 100 languages at various levels and as of May 2017, serves over 500 million people daily. For some languages, Google Translate can pronounce translated text, highlight corresponding words and phrases in the source and target text, and act as a simple dictionary for single-word input. If “Detect language” is selected, text in an unknown language can be automatically identified. If a user enters a URL in the source text, Google Translate will produce a hyperlink to a machine translation of the website. Users can save translations in a “phrasebook” for later use. For some languages, text can be entered via an on-screen keyboard, through handwriting recognition, or speech recognition.
This software is available in some web browsers as an optional downloadable extension that can run the translation engine. In February 2010, It was integrated into the Google Chrome browser by default, for optional automatic webpage translation.
The Google Translate app for Android and iOS supports more than 100 languages and can translate 37 languages via photo, 32 via voice in “conversation mode”, and 27 via real-time video in “augmented reality mode”. The Android app was released in January 2010, and for iOS on February 8, 2011.
|Size||13.69 MB (Android)
64.5 MB (iOS)
The Google Translate app for Android and iOS supports more than 100 languages and can translate 37 languages via photo, 32 via voice in “conversation mode”, and 27 via real-time video in “augmented reality mode”.
The Android app was released on January 2010, and for iOS on February 8, 2011.
A January 2011 Android version experimented with a “Conversation Mode” that allowed users to communicate fluidly with a nearby person in another language. Originally limited to English and Spanish, the feature received support for 12 new languages, still in testing, the following October.
In January 2015, the apps gained the ability to translate physical signs in real-time using the device’s camera, as a result of Google’s acquisition of the Word Lens app. The original January launch only supported seven languages, but a July update added support for 20 new languages, and also enhanced the speed of Conversation Mode translations.
In May 2011, Google announced that the Google Translate API for software developers had been deprecated and would cease functioning. The Translate API page stated the reason as “substantial economic burden caused by extensive abuse” with an end date set for December 1, 2011. In response to public pressure, Google announced on June 2011 that the API would continue to be available as a paid service.
Because the API was used in numerous third-party websites and apps, the original decision to deprecate it led some developers to criticize Google and question the viability of using Google APIs in their products.
It also provides translations for Google Assistant and the devices that Google Assistant runs on such as Google Home and Google Pixel Buds.
Supported languages for Google Translate
The following languages are supported in Google Translate.
- Haitian Creole
- Scots Gaelic
Google Translate Accuracy
Although Google Translate is not as reliable as Human Translation, it has sufficient ability to provide relatively accurate translation and a list of foreign language text. It has the ability to translate the text with the general use of words and phrases in a consistent manner. Research conducted in 2011 showcased that Google Translate got a slightly higher score than the UCLA minimum score for English Proficiency Exam. Due to its use of identical choice of words without considering the flexibility of choosing the alternative words or expressions, it produces relatively similar translation to human translation from the perspective of formality, referential cohesion, and conceptual cohesion. Moreover, a number of languages are translated into a similar sentence structure and sentence length with human translation. Google carried out a test that required native speakers of each language to rate the translation with a scale between 0 and 6 and the results showed that Google Translate got 5.43 on average.
Google Translate Limitations
Due to the differences in complexity and nature of language, the accuracy varies greatly among languages. Some languages produce better results than others. Typically, western languages such as English and Spanish are generally accurate, and the accuracy of African languages are often the poorest, followed by Asian and European languages. Moreover, Google Translate performs well, especially when English is the target language and the source language is from the European Union due to the prominence of translated EU parliament notes. A 2010 analysis indicated that French to English translation is relatively accurate.
However, if the source text is shorter, rule-based machine translations often perform better; this effect is particularly evident in Chinese to English translations. While edits of translations may be submitted, in Chinese specifically one is not able to edit sentences as a whole. Instead, one must edit sometimes arbitrary sets of characters, leading to incorrect edits. A good example is Russian-to-English. Formerly one would use Google Translate to make a draft and then use a dictionary and common sense to correct the numerous mistakes. As of early 2018 Translate is sufficiently accurate to make the Russian Wikipedia accessible to those who can read English. The quality of Translate can be checked by adding it as an extension to Chrome and applying it to the left language links of any Wikipedia article.
After the Google Translate has deployed a new technology called “Neural Machine Translation,” to translate whole sentences or text block in the context at a time, seeing the alternative translation for a word or phrase is not available anymore. Moreover, in its “Written Words Translation” function, there is a word limit on the amount of text that can be translated at once. Therefore, a long text should be transferred to a document form and translated through its “Document Translate” function.
Moreover, machine translation often does not identify the double meanings of a word. A word in a foreign language might have two different meanings in the translated language. As a result, it might lead to mistranslations.
Additionally, the grammatical error remains a major limitation that faces Google Translate’s attempts at accuracy.
Google Translator example in everyday life
Translate websites to other languages
Google Translator can parse individual words and phrases, of course, but you can also translate entire websites into a chosen language. You can translate foreign websites like this Italian news publication into another language with Google Translator.
Just type the entire URL of the website you want to be translated into the text box on the left side of Google Translate‘s home page. Make sure Detect language is selected, and click Translate. In a short time, you’ll see the website’s translated homepage. All the site’s pages will be translated as well as long as you continue to view the site within the Google Translator interface. You can toggle between the translation and original language using buttons on the Translate toolbar.
Translate your documents
You can also translate Word documents, PDFs, and other file types in Google Translate.
Beneath the text box, click the Translate a document link. On the next page, select the source language or the Detect language option, and the language to which you want the document translated. Click the Browse button, select the file to upload it, and click Translate. A translated copy of the document will open in a new browser window.
In India, people are translating English to Hindi almost every day by the help of Google Translator, similar to the Spanish are searching English to Spanish while they are surfing any websites which have English content.
Build your own phrasebook
Once you’ve gone to the trouble to translate a complex phrase, you want to remember it. Google Translator allows you to save any translation to your own personal phrasebook.
Click the star icon beneath any translated word or phrase to save it. You can review your saved translations at any time by clicking the silhouetted star icon on the Translate toolbar.
Improve your English
Most of us would never think to enter our own language in the Google Translate box, but the tool can actually help you learn more about your native tongue.
For any word entered into Google Translator, it provides a definition, the word class (noun, verb, etc.), synonyms, and examples of the word’s use in a sentence. It works much like a combination dictionary and thesaurus, allowing you to school yourself on unfamiliar words and phrases and improve your written communications.
Happy Google Translate!