Revealed amid the company’s Live from Paris event, Google Translate gets a much-needed upgrade as it gains what is arguably the most important translation metric: context.
With the power of AI, Google Translate will start providing more “contextual translation options” with examples in the desired language. In the given example, the AI will be able to understand if you are talking about ordering a bass (the fish) for dinner or ordering a bass (the instrument) for your band. The service will then provide sample sentences for each translation relating to a particular meaning.
In addition to maintaining accuracy, the ad states (opens in a new tab) Google Translate will start using “the right turns of phrase, local idioms, or appropriate words depending on your intent.” This way, the translated sentence will match the way a native speaker speaks.
The update will be rolling out to Google Translate on mobile and browser versions in the coming weeks. At launch, only a few languages will be supported: English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish. Other reports (opens in a new tab) assert that other languages will come out in months. We contacted Google to confirm this; however, a rep told us the company has no new information to share at this time.
iOS app update
Additionally, the revamped Google Translate app that first appeared on Android is moving to iOS. iPhone owners will now have a host of quality of life changes such as a “larger canvas for typing [alongside] more accessible entry points. The user interface has also been simplified for easier translation.
You will also have a more dynamic font that will automatically correct itself as you type. “Alternative translation and dictionary definitions” will appear next to the translations. Users can also hold down the language button to “quickly choose a recently used language”. And swiping down on the text box brings up recent translations.
For the icing on the cake, Google Translate on iOS will support 33 additional languages including Hawaiian, Hmong, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish, to name a few. It is recommended to download this bundle to your phone in case you are stuck without an internet connection and need to translate something on the fly. A set of instructions on how to download them can be found on the translation help page (opens in a new tab).
Hopefully, with these changes, Google Translate can shake up its long-standing reputation. (opens in a new tab) to be inaccurate. But if you still don’t trust the service and want something better, be sure to check out TechRadar’s recently updated list of best translation software of 2023.
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