Gmail users now can access translation support for an additional 13 languages around the world, bringing the total number of languages available using Gmail to 71.
The expansion of the language translation services was announced by Ian Hill, senior project manager of Google Localization, in a July 7 post on the Official Gmail Blog. The added languages are Afrikaans, Armenian, Azerbaijani (Azeri), Chinese (Hong Kong), French (Canada), Galician, Georgian, Khmer, Lao, Mongolian, Nepali, Sinhala and Zulu.
Some of the new languages now supported by Gmail had already been rolled out previously as part of other Google services, including Google Search, Maps, Drive, Docs and YouTube, according to Google.
"Email is a universal way to communicate," wrote Hill. "No matter where you are, you can reach anyone else in the world with the press of a button. We take it for granted now, but it's so much easier to keep in touch with people than it was in the old days of pens, paper, and stamps.
"But there's still an important barrier we need to overcome to make email truly universal: language," Hill continued. "Gmail is already available in 58 languages, and today we're bringing that total to 71—covering 94 percent of the world's Internet population and bringing us closer to our goal of making sure that, no matter what language you write in, you can use it in Gmail."
Gmail users employing the email service on the Web or through smartphone browsers can access the additional languages by adjusting their Gmail account settings, wrote Hill. "As any native speaker knows, each language has its own nuances, so we worked closely with linguists to make sure the tone and style are just right. For example, both Hong Kong and Taiwan use traditional Chinese characters."
Differences in regional and local use of words will show up in Gmail, such as the new Chinese (Hong Kong) character for "Inbox," which is different from the word used in Taiwan, he wrote.
Similar differences appear for several languages spoken in India, where Nepali, Marathi, and Hindi are three of the many languages in use, wrote Hill. All of these languages use Devanagari characters, but again there are different regionalizations and spellings for words such as "Inbox."
Google regularly updates its Translate services.
In December 2013, Google added nine more languages—including five in Africa–to its offerings, raising its support to translations for 80 languages.
The additional African languages were Hausa, which is spoken in Nigeria and neighboring countries with 35 million native speakers; Igbo, which spoken in Nigeria with 25 million native speakers; Yoruba, which is spoken in Nigeria and neighboring countries with 28 million native speakers; Somali, which is spoken in Somalia and other countries around the Horn of Africa with 17 million native speakers; and Zulu, which is spoken in South Africa and other southwestern African countries with 10 million native speakers.