Google Translate

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Google Translate

Google Translate logo.png
Google Translate.PNG
Type of site Machine translation
Registration No
Owner Google
Created by Google
Current status Active

Google Translate is a free statistical machine translation service provided by Google Inc. to translate a section of text, document or webpage, into another language.

The service was introduced in April 28, 2006 for the Arabic language. Prior to October 2007, for languages other than Arabic, Chinese and Russian, Google used a SYSTRAN based translator which is used by other translation services such as Babel Fish, AOL, and Yahoo.

On May 26, 2011, Google announced that the Google Translate API
had been deprecated and that it would cease functioning on December 1,
2011 “due to the substantial economic burden caused by extensive abuse.” The shutting down of the API, which is used by a number of websites,
has led to criticism of Google and developers questioning the viability
of using Google APIs in their products.

On June 3, 2011, Google announced that they were canceling their plan
to terminate the Translate API due to public pressure. In the same
announcement, Google said that they will release a paid version of the
Translate API.

Features and limitations

The service limits the number of paragraphs, or range of technical
terms, that will be translated. It is also possible to enter searches in
a source language that are first translated to a destination language
allowing you to browse and interpret results from the selected
destination language in the source language. For some languages, users are asked for alternate translations such as
for technical terms, to be included for future updates to the
translation process. Text in a foreign language can be typed, and if
“Detect Language” is selected, it will not only detect the language but
also translate it into English by default.

Google Translate, like other automatic translation tools, has its
limitations. While it can help the reader to understand the general
content of a foreign language text, it does not always deliver accurate
translations. Some languages produce better results than others. As of
2010, French to English translation is very good; however, rule-based machine translations perform better if the text to
be translated is shorter; this effect is particularly evident in Chinese
to English translations.

Texts written in the Greek, Devanagari, Cyrillic and Arabic scripts can be transliterated automatically from phonetic equivalents written in the Latin alphabet.

Browser integration

A number of Firefox extensions
exist for Google services, and likewise for Google Translate, which
allow right-click command access to the translation service.

An extension for Google’s Chrome browser also exists;in February 2010, Google translate was integrated into the standard Google Chrome browser for automatic webpage translation.

Android version

Created by Google Inc. Google translate available as free downloadable application for Android OS
users. The first version was launched in January 2010. It works simply
like the browser version. Google translation for Android contains two
main options: “SMS translation” and “History”. The current version also
supports Conversation Mode when translating between English and Spanish
(in alpha testing). This is a new interface within Google Translate that
allows to communicate fluidly with a nearby person in another language.
The application supports 53 languages and voice input for 15 languages.
It is available for devices running Android 2.1 and above and can be
downloaded by searching for “Google Translate” in Android Market. It was first released in January 2010, with an improved version available on January 12, 2011.

Latest version: 2.0.0 build 42

iOS version

Google Translate iOS 


In August 2008, Google launched a Google Translate HTML5 web application for iOS for iPhone and iPod touch
users. The official iOS app for Google Translate was released February
8, 2011. It accepts voice input for 15 languages and allows translation
of a word or phrase into one of more than 50 languages. Translations can
be spoken out loud in 23 different languages.

Language options

(by chronological order of introduction)

  • 1st stage
  • English to French
  • English to German
  • English to Spanish
  • French to English
  • German to English
  • Spanish to English
  • 2nd stage
  • English to Portuguese
  • English to Dutch
  • Portuguese to English
  • Dutch to English
  • 3rd stage
  • English to Italian
  • Italian to English
  • 4th stage
  • English to Chinese (Simplified)
  • English to Japanese
  • English to Korean
  • Chinese (Simplified) to English
  • Japanese to English
  • Korean to English
  • 5th stage (launched April 2006)
  • English to Arabic
  • Arabic to English
  • 6th stage (launched December 2006)
  • English to Russian
  • Russian to English
  • 7th stage (launched February 2007)
  • English to Chinese (Traditional)
  • Chinese (Simplified to Traditional)
  • Chinese (Traditional) to English
  • Chinese (Traditional to Simplified)
  • 8th stage (launched October 2007)
    • all 25 language pairs use Google’s machine translation system
  • 9th stage
  • English to Hindi
  • Hindi to English
  • 10th stage (as of this stage, translation can be done between any
    two languages, going through English, if needed) (launched May 2008)
  • Bulgarian
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Finnish
  • Greek
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Romanian
  • Swedish
  • 11th stage (launched September 25, 2008)
  • Catalan
  • Filipino
  • Hebrew
  • Indonesian
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian
  • Serbian
  • Slovak
  • Slovene
  • Ukrainian
  • Vietnamese
  • 12th stage (launched January 30, 2009)
  • Albanian
  • Estonian
  • Galician
  • Hungarian
  • Maltese
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • 13th stage (launched June 19, 2009)
  • Persian
  • 14th stage (launched August 24, 2009)
  • Afrikaans
  • Belarusian
  • Icelandic
  • Irish
  • Macedonian
  • Malay
  • Swahili
  • Welsh
  • Yiddish
  • 15th stage (launched November 19, 2009)
    • The Beta stage is finished. Users can now choose to have the romanization
      written for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian,
      Bulgarian, Greek, Hindi and Thai. For translations from Arabic, Persian
      and Hindi, the user can enter a Latin transliteration of the text and
      the text will be translated to the native script for these languages as
      the user is writing. The text can now be read by a text-to-speech program in English, Italian, French and German
  • 16th stage (launched January 30, 2010)
    • Haitian Creole
  • 17th stage (launched April 2010)
    • Speech program launched in Hindi and Spanish
  • 18th stage (launched May 5, 2010)
    • Speech program launched in Afrikaans, Albanian, Catalan, Chinese
      (Mandarin), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian,
      Icelandic, Indonesian, Latvian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Polish,
      Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Swahili, Swedish,
      Turkish, Vietnamese and Welsh (based in eSpeak).
  • 19th stage (launched May 13, 2010)
  • Armenian
  • Azerbaijani
  • Basque
  • Georgian
  • Urdu
  • 20th stage (launched June 2010)
  • Provides romanization for Arabic.
  • 21st stage (launched September 2010)
  • Allows phonetic typing for Arabic, Greek, Hindi, Persian, Russian, Serbian and Urdu.
  • Latin
  • 22nd stage (launched December 2010)
    • Romanization of Arabic removed.
    • Spell check added.
    • Google replaced some languages’ text-to-speech synthesizers from
      eSpeak’s robot voice to native speaker’s nature voice technologies made
      by SVOX(Chinese,
      Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish,
      Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Turkish). Also the old versions of French,
      German, Italian and Spanish. Latin uses the same synthesizer as
    • Speech program launched in Arabic, Japanese, and Korean.
  • 23rd stage (Launched January 2011)
    • Now you can choose different translations for a word.
  • 24th stage (Launched June 2011)
    • 5 new Indian languages (in alpha) and a transliterated input method
      • Bengali
      • Gujarati
      • Kannada
      • Tamil
      • Telugu
  • 25th stage (Launched July 2011)
    • Now you can rate the translations.

Translation methodology

Google Translate does not apply grammatical
rules, since its algorithms are based on statistical analysis rather
than traditional rule-based analysis. Indeed, the system’s original
creator, Franz Josef Och, has criticized the effectiveness of rule-based algorithms in favor of empirical approaches.It is based on a method called statistical machine translation, and more specifically, on research by Och who won the DARPA contest for speed machine translation in 2003. He is now the head of Google’s machine translation group.

According to Och, a solid base for developing a usable statistical
machine translation system for a new pair of languages from scratch,
would consist in having a bilingual text corpus (or parallel collection) of more than a million words and two monolingual corpora of each more than a billion words. Statistical models from this data are then used to translate between those languages.

To acquire this huge amount of linguistic data, Google used United Nations documents.The UN typically publishes documents in all six official UN languages, which has produced a very large 6-language corpus.

Google representatives have been involved with domestic conferences
in Japan where it has solicited bilingual data from researchers.

Translation mistakes and oddities

Because Google Translate uses statistical matching to translate
rather than a dictionary/grammar rules approach, translated text can
often include apparently nonsensical and obvious errors,often swapping common terms for similar but nonequivalent common terms in the other language,as well as inverting sentence meaning.


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Jeffry is a Mechanical Engineer by education and an aspiring writer and blogger. After working hard for around 12 hours a day on his core job, he spends his remaining time in blogging and reading articles online. And he loves to make poor jokes, so be prepared.

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