Google Expands Its Google Translate Services

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-05-09

Google Expands Its Google Translate Services

Google is again expanding the number of languages that can be translated using its Android mobile and Web-based tools, making it easier for Web users to understand the information they find, even if it's in a foreign language.

Google Translate for Android has added 16 more languages to its camera-input feature, which 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 has also been improved, according to a May 8 post by Minqi Jiang, associate product manager of the Google Translate Team, on the Google Translate Blog.

Another improvement, wrote Jiang, is that users can now save their favorite translated phrases to a phrasebook in their Android devices so they can easily call them up again when needed. "Whether it's 'Where can I find a museum?' or 'Do you know where the bathroom is?' Google Translate lets you save these translations in your Phrasebook," Jiang wrote.

In the past, users could not easily access those saved translations on the go from their smartphones or tablets, but that capability is now available, according to Jiang.

"To get started, select Phrasebook in the app menu of the Google Translate app for Android," he wrote. "To sync your phrases, simply sign in to your Google Account by tapping the 'Sign in' button at the top of your Phrasebook."

The 16 new languages that will 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 has also been updated with five additional languages that can now be translated by the service, according to a May 8 post on the Google Inside Search Blog by Sveta Kelman, program manager for Google Translate.

The additional languages are 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, according to the post. 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, according to Kelman. Marathi is spoken in India. Google Translate already supports several other Indian languages: Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

More than 70 languages are now supported by Google Translate.

Google Expands Its Google Translate Services

In March, 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. They can also view dictionary results for single words or phrases as needed.

After installing the 5.7MB app, users can choose the offline languages they want to download and store them to their devices for use with translations.

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. 

Google uses its powerful and expansive cloud infrastructure to provide the Google Translator services, according to the company.

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