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.
Gmail Gets Translations for 13 More Languages
Translate also added language support for Mongolian, which is the official language in Mongolia and is also spoken in parts of China by 6 million native speakers; Nepali, which is spoken in Nepal and India by 17 million native speakers; and Punjabi, which is spoken in India and Pakistan by 100 million native speakers. Also added was support for Maori, which is spoken in New Zealand by 160,000 native speakers.
In November 2013, Google made its Google Translate language translation app for Android faster and expanded its coverage to several additional foreign languages, including Malay and Ukranian.
The Translate app, which was introduced in 2010, allows users to speak into an Android device to get a translation into another language, or to use a built-in handwriting feature to get translations. Those capabilities are useful for travelers when they are in places where non-native languages are spoken.
The latest version of Google Translate includes more language support for the built-in handwriting feature, which now gives users the ability to directly write words in Hebrew, Javanese and Esperanto on their devices so they can be translated on the fly. Users can also use the camera translation feature to take a photo of written text with an Android device and then highlight the words they’d like to be translated.
So far, Translate supports translations for more than 80 languages, including Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Basque, Belarusian, Bengali, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Cebuano, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, Galician, Georgian, German, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Javanese, Kannada, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Marathi, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh and Yiddish, according to Google.
Earlier in November 2013, Google launched inexpensive language translation services for Android app developers to help them get their apps translated so they can sell them in other countries. The new service is expected to cost about $75 for a small app to about $150 for a large app for each language translation.
In August 2013, Google added a Google+ translation feature to help users quickly get basic translations when other users make posts in languages other than their own on Google+.
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 were Bulgarian, Catalan, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Croatian, Hungarian, Indonesian, Icelandic, Lithuanian, Latvian, Norwegian, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian and Swedish.
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. They can also input the text they want to translate using their voice, handwriting or the device’s camera.