To make Google’s online translation services even better, Google has created an online Translate Community where volunteers can add their personal language expertise to help make the services more accurate for people seeking help with foreign languages.
The new Translate Community was announced by Sveta Kelman, the program manager for Google Translate, in a recent post on the Google Translate Blog.
“Google Translate helps billions of people communicate and learn new languages, but it could always use a little help,” wrote Kelman. “Luckily, there are a lot of multi-lingual people around the world who have offered to pitch in. We’ve just launched a new Translate Community where language enthusiasts can help us improve translation quality for the 80 languages we support, as well as help us in launching new languages.”
The new Translate user forum will give volunteers the opportunity to create new translations of words and phrases that need to be added, make corrections for existing translations that can be improved and rate existing translations for accuracy, wrote Kelman. “When you spot a translation that you’d like to edit, click the ‘Improve this translation’ pencil icon and click ‘Contribute’ to submit your suggestion to us. We plan to incorporate your corrections and over time learn your language a little better.”
The Translate Community will also be a place where volunteers will be asked to contribute toward new languages that are added to the service over time, according to a Google FAQ about the service. “While Google Translate is a statistical machine translation tool [you can learn more about it here], we sometimes need help from native speakers to improve our algorithms and learn your language a little better.”
So far, Google Translate supports 80 languages from around the world. And while the system works by analyzing a vast amount of previously translated texts available on the Web, sometimes human intervention is also needed to ensure the accuracy of translations for relatively simple words and phrases, according to the FAQs.
“Over time, you’ll find more ways to contribute, as well as get more visibility into the impact of your contributions and the activity across the community,” wrote Kelman. “We will also localize Community pages to support your preferred display language. If you have feedback and ideas about improving and growing our community, we’d love to hear it, so please don’t hesitate to submit it via the ‘Send feedback’ link on the bottom of the page.”
Google is often busy adding new language capabilities to its many services for users.
In July, Google added translation support for 13 additional languages for Gmail users. This brings the total number of languages supported to 71. The added languages were 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.
Google Asks Language Lovers to Help Refine Translate Services
In December 2013, Google Translate 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 is 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.
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, 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.