Google+ users will now be able to quickly get basic translations when other users make posts in languages other than their own.
The new Google+ translation feature, which will roll out gradually for desktop users, was unveiled in an Aug. 20 post by research scientist Ed Chi and software engineer Lichan Hong on the Official Google Translate Blog.
"Whenever there's a Google+ public post or comment that isn't in your language, you'll now see a 'Translate' link underneath the text," wrote Chi and Hong. "Clicking the link translates the text in-line, and clicking again returns to the original." Users can select and set their language preferences in their Google+ accounts.
"The Google Translate team is always working to make information more accessible to individuals around the world," wrote Chi and Hong. "In Google+ this means bringing people together regardless of their written language, and breaking down language barriers that can limit the exchange of ideas."
The new service continues on Google's tradition of adding and updating translation capabilities in its products. The Web-based tools make it easier for Web users to understand the information they find, even if it's in a foreign language.
In May 2013, Google Translate on Android added 16 more languages for its camera input feature, while Google's Web-based Translate service added five more languages. The camera-input feature allows users to take a photo of a sign in a foreign language so it can be translated. The performance of the camera-input feature was also improved at that time. The updates also now let users save their favorite translated phrases to a phrasebook in their Android devices so they can easily call them up again when needed. In the past, users could not easily access those saved translations on the go from their smartphones or tablets.
The 16 added languages that now work with the camera-input feature are Bulgarian, Catalan, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Croatian, Hungarian, Indonesian, Icelandic, Lithuanian, Latvian, Norwegian, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian and Swedish.
The Google Translate feature for Web-based users received language updates for Bosnian, Cebuano, Hmong, Javanese and Marathi. Bosnian is an official language in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Cebuano is one of the languages spoken in the Philippines. Hmong is spoken in many countries across the world, including China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and throughout the United States, while Javanese is the second most-spoken language in Indonesia. Marathi is spoken in India. More than 70 languages are now supported by Google Translate.
In March 2013, Google Translate for Android got a big upgrade when Google unveiled a feature that lets traveling users access language-translation services on their mobile devices, even when they don't have access to an Internet connection. Instead of relying on a connection, users can now download individual offline language apps for devices running Android 2.3 or higher. Users can install the free app to their Android device and gain the capabilities to translate text and speech, as well as listen to the translations being spoken aloud. Users can input the text they want to translate using their voice, handwriting or the device's camera. Users can also save their favorite translations for easy offline access later. Plus, they can view dictionary results for single words or phrases as needed.
The offline apps are less comprehensive than their online equivalents, but they are perfect for translating in a pinch when users are traveling abroad with poor reception or without mobile data access.
Google Translate for Android was introduced in 2010 and has been steadily gaining useful features for users. In late 2011, Google improved its then-new "conversation mode" feature, which allows users to communicate fluently with a nearby person in another language. Users can use the feature by speaking into their Android handset's microphone so that the app can translate what they say and then read the translation back to them aloud. The person to whom the user is directing his or her speech can then reply in their language from their phone. Conversation Mode translates what they say and reads it back to the original speaker.
In July 2013, Google integrated language translation services into its Chrome for Android Version 28 Web browser. The integration provided automatic detection of foreign languages when users browse Web pages, as well as a follow-up offer to translate those pages into the user's native language.