Author Archives: Google Translate Official Blogger

See the world in your language with Google Translate

The Google Translate app already lets you instantly visually translate printed text in seven languages. Just open the app, click on the camera, and point it at the text you need to translate—a street sign, ingredient list, instruction manual, dials on a washing machine. You'll see the text transform live on your screen into the other language. No Internet connection or cell phone data needed.

Today, we’re updating the Google Translate app again—expanding instant visual translation to 20 more languages (for a total of 27!), and making real-time voice translations a lot faster and smoother—so even more people can experience the world in their language.
Instantly translate printed text in 27 languages
We started out with seven languages—English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish—and today we're adding 20 more. You can now translate to and from English and Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian. You can also do one-way translations from English to Hindi and Thai. (Or, try snapping a pic of the text you’d like translated—we have a total of 37 languages in camera mode.)

To try out the new languages, go to the Google Translate app, set “English” along with the language you’d like to translate, and click the camera button; you'll be prompted to download a small (~2 MB) language pack for each.

Ready to see all of these languages in action?
And how exactly did we get so many new languages running on a device with no data connection? It’s all about convolutional neural networks (whew)—geek out on that over on our Research blog.

Have a natural, smoother conversation—even with a slower mobile network
In many emerging markets, slow mobile networks can make it challenging to access many online tools - so if you live in an area with unreliable mobile networks, our other update today is for you. In addition to instant visual translation, we’ve also improved our voice conversation mode (enabling real-time translation of conversations across 32 languages), so it’s even faster and more natural on slow networks.
These updates are coming to both Android and iOS, rolling out over the next few days.

Translate Community helps us get better every day
On top of today’s updates, we’re also continuously working to improve the quality of the translations themselves and to add new languages. A year ago this week, we launched Translate Community, a place for multilingual people from anywhere in the world to provide and correct translations. Thanks to the millions of language lovers who have already pitched in—more than 100 million words so far!—we've been updating our translations for over 90 language pairs, and plan to update many more as our community grows.

We’ve still got lots of work to do: more than half of the content on the Internet is in English, but only around 20% of the world’s population speaks English. Today’s updates knock down a few more language barriers, helping you communicate better and get the information you need.

Google Translate keeps getting better with your help

People use Google Translate a whole lot—we translate over 100 billion words a day! However, in the past, our translation systems have generally been better at making sense of government and business documents than in helping people casually communicate.

But that’s all changing thanks to people like you and a recent update we rolled out. So the next time you translate informal speech in Google Translate, you might just find a better translation. Here's an example of how it’s improved:
So how exactly are people like you impacting Google Translate? Well, with Translate Community hundreds of thousands of people have generously donated their time in service of cross-language communication. It’s fun and really easy: tell us what languages you speak; choose to either see a phrase and translate it on your own or correct current translations already in the system. Based on translations from the community, we will incorporate corrections and over time learn the language a little better.

There’s a whole lot more work to do, but with more help from everyday people through Translate Community, we can continue to improve the 90 languages we already speak and keep adding more.

Improving Google Translate during I/O

During the Translate Community: Google I/O Challenge nearly 2.5 million phrases or about 12 million words were translated and validated by participants during Google I/O and beyond. From Afrikaans to Zulu, we saw approximately 75,000 people representing all of the 117 languages available in Google Translate Community take the lead and improve Google Translate for the languages they speak.
Some of the top contributing languages were what you might expect based on the number of speakers of each language; Spanish, Russian, French and Portuguese led the way through the challenge and languages like Bengali and Vietnamese notably moved their way up the rankings.
Of the languages that are not yet in Google Translate, Kyrgyz speakers shined the brightest with nearly 40,000 phrases translated and validated during the challenge. The Kyrgyz community has continued to plan events and rally to help add their language to Google Translate.

Thank you to the I/O Extended event organizers, Google Developer Groups and everyone who contributed to improving their language in Google Translate throughout this 10-day-challenge. We're excited to continue to work together in improving Google Translate.

Translate Community: Google I/O Challenge

For the last 10 months, multilingual users around the world have flocked to the Google Translate Community to help improve their language(s) on Google Translate through translating and validating common phrases.

Since launch, we've seen some amazing contributions, from Kyrgyz speakers who are getting us closer to adding their language to Google Translate, to Bengali speakers who organized 80 translate-a-thon events, significantly increasing translation quality for their language.
Translate Community: Google I/O Challenge (May 26 - June 5, 2015)
Now, we're challenging all Google I/O attendees (onsite and offsite!) to represent your language(s) during the Translate Community: I/O Challenge running from May 26 to June 5, 2015. Our goal is to reach over 5 million total contributions during the challenge.

You can make meaningful contributions in just a few minutes, and remember that all contributions matter—we encourage you to spread the word in your local community and amongst your friends and family to increase the contributions for your language(s). More contributions mean higher quality translations for your language(s), or helping your language(s) become supported on Google Translate, if they aren’t yet.

To get started:
  • Sign up in the new version of Translate Community at
  • Set your language(s) and contribute with as many high-quality translations / validations you have time for
  • Invite others to join the challenge and show support for your language on social with the official #io15 & #loveyourlanguage hashtags
You can follow which languages are getting the most contributions on our Google+ page, where we’ll post updates on who's leading the way throughout the challenge. Besides helping your language rise to the top of our leaderboard, if you’re one of the top high-quality contributors, you’ll get a Google Translate certificate for your linguistic legerdemain and might even get a shoutout on our social channels.

Built with Polymer
In the spirit of Google I/O, we recently released a new version of the Translate Community using Polymer. In addition to supporting your language, be one of the first to try out the new look of Translate Community.
This new version takes advantage of Web Components in Polymer. We're one of the first teams at Google to use Polymer this way—it’s now much easier to add new features like badges, upgrade our design, and ensure it works great on smartphones and tablets, in addition to desktop. We're looking forward to leading the way by offering our community a fun and engaging place to make a positive impact.

A month of language love in Southeast Asia আপনার ভাষা প্রেম သင့်ဘာသာစကား ကိုချစ်မြတ်နိုး Yêu lắm Tiếng Việt ơi! รักภาษาของคุณ

Have you ever slashed the wind with your friends? Attached a gold leaf to the back of a Buddha statue? Or caught the moon in your hands?

You probably have, but if you don’t speak Vietnamese, Thai or Bengali you probably called it something else. These are some phrases Google Translate learned to understand a little better during the first of a series of translate-a-thons held over the last month in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand, part of a “Love your Language” project to get languages better represented on the Web. (For those playing at home, the Vietnamese call it slashing the wind when they gossip, the Thais say they attach a gold leaf to the back of a Buddha statue when they do something selfless, and Bengalis say they’ve caught the moon in their hand when they receive something rare).

Google Translate provides free translation in 90 languages, but for those that don’t have much presence on the Web - like Myanmar, Bengali, Vietnamese and Thai - it could use a little help.

This is where the Translate Community tool and passionate language speakers can make a difference. By letting people validate, match, rate and supply translations, it can boost the translation of these languages online for millions of people.

Try it out yourself at
Since kicking off on International Mother Tongue Day (21 Feb), more than 50,000 people have come together, online and off, to use this tool to improve translations for Bengali, Myanmar, Vietnamese and Thai. They gathered at startup hubs in Yangon and university campuses in Vietnam, Bangladesh and Thailand.
This gentleman showed up at Phandeeyar Innovation Hub in Yangon with a handwritten list of phrases he wanted Google to get right.

So far, more than 100 translate-a-thons have been held and more than 10 million words have been added. That's 17 times more words than Tolstoy used for War and Peace, 12 times the number of words in the English version of the Bible.

It's made a huge difference. The quality of Bengali translations are now twice as good as they were before human review. While in Thailand, Google Translate learned more Thai in seven days with the help of volunteers than in all of 2014.

The following graph show the spike in Translate Community inputs over the last month, March 26 saw a major spike for Bangladesh Independence day, setting a new record for the largest volume of translations contributed in 24 hours.
Google Translate Community surfaces a random selection of popular words and phrases that users are asking Google Translate to explain in their language — from music lyrics, to local recipes, to human rights.
Teaching Google Vietnamese at the University of Technology in Ho Chi Minh City
Teaching Google Vietnamese at the University of Technology in Ho Chi Minh City We sometimes think the offline world and online world are separate. They're not. A huge thank you to all the people that joined us for the Love your Language series of events. Your efforts have made it easier for people from downtown Dhaka to upcountry Thailand to access the web in a language they understand.
Teaching Thai at Siam University International College
And the improvements don’t need to stop. By joining the Translate Community you can join us in making the web work better for everyone — no matter what language you speak.

Hallo, hola, olá to the new, more powerful Google Translate app

Often the hardest part of traveling is navigating the local language. If you've ever asked for "pain" in Paris and gotten funny looks, confused "embarazada" with "embarrassed" in Mexico, or stumbled over pronunciation pretty much anywhere, you know the feeling. Now Google Translate can be your guide in new ways. We’ve updated the Translate app on Android and iOS to transform your mobile device into an even more powerful translation tool.

Instant translation with Word Lens
The Translate app already lets you use camera mode to snap a photo of text and get a translation for it in 36 languages. Now, we’re taking it to the next level and letting you instantly translate text using your camera—so it’s way easier to navigate street signs in the Italian countryside or decide what to order off a Barcelona menu. While using the Translate app, just point your camera at a sign or text and you’ll see the translated text overlaid on your screen—even if you don't have an Internet or data connection.

This instant translation currently works for translation from English to and from French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, and we’re working to expand to more languages. 

Have an easier conversation using the Translate app
When talking with someone in an unfamiliar language, conversations can... get... realllllllly... sloowwww. While we’ve had real-time conversation mode on Android since 2013, our new update makes the conversation flow faster and more naturally.

Starting today, simply tap the mic to start speaking in a selected language, then tap the mic again, and the Google Translate app will automatically recognize which of the two languages are being spoken, letting you have a more fluid conversation. For the rest of the conversation, you won’t need to tap the mic again—it'll be ready as you need it. Asking for directions to the Rive Gauche, ordering bacalhau in Lisbon, or chatting with your grandmother in her native Spanish just got a lot faster.

These updates will be coming to both Android and iOS, rolling out over the next few days. This is the first time some of these advanced features, like camera translations and conversation mode, will be available for iOS users.

More than 500 million people use Google Translate every month, making more than 1 billion translations a day to more easily communicate and access information across languages. Today’s updates take us one step closer to turning your phone into a universal translator and to a world where language is no longer a barrier to discovering information or connecting with each other.

Google Translate – 10 More Languages with your Help

Cross-posted on the Inside Search Blog

Whether you're teaching yourself a new language or trying to make a new friend, Google Translate can be a powerful tool for crossing language barriers. Today, we're adding 10 languages to Translate, bringing our total number of supported languages to 90. These 10 new languages will allow more than 200 million additional people to translate text to and from their native languages. These languages are available now on and will roll out soon to our mobile apps and to the built-in translation functionality in Chrome.  

If it weren't for the active Translate Community participation, we wouldn't be able to launch some of these languages today. While our translation system learns from translated data found on the web, sometimes we need support from humans to improve our algorithms. We're very grateful for all the support we're getting today and we hope that together with our community, we can continue improving translation quality for the languages we support today and add even more languages in the future.

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Spotlight on our new languages

Africa gets more language coverage with Chichewa, Malagasy, and Sesotho:

  • Chichewa (Chinyanja) is spoken by 12 million people in Malawi and surrounding countries. It is one of 55 languages used in the greetings that now travel the galaxy on the Voyager interstellar probes.
  • Malagasy is spoken by 18 million people in Madagascar, where it is the national language. It is one of only a few languages which puts the verb first in sentences, followed by the object and then the subject.
  • Sesotho has 6 million native speakers. It is the national language of Lesotho and one of 11 official languages in South Africa.

In India and Southeast Asia, we are adding Malayalam, Myanmar, Sinhala, and Sundanese:

  • Malayalam (മലയാളം), with 38 million native speakers, is a major language in India and one of that country’s 6 classical languages. It’s been one of the most-requested languages, so we are especially excited to add Malayalam support!
  • Myanmar (Burmese, မြန်မာစာ) is the official language of Myanmar with 33 million native speakers. Myanmar language has been in the works for a long time as it's a challenging language for automatic translation, both from language structure and font encoding perspectives. While our system understands different Myanmar inputs, we encourage the use of open standards and therefore only output Myanmar translations in Unicode.
  • Sinhala (සිංහල) is one of the official languages of Sri Lanka and natively spoken by 16 million people. In September the local community in Sri Lanka organized Sinhala Translate Week, and since then, participants have contributed tens of thousands of translations to our system. We're happy to be able to release Sinhala as one of the new languages today!
  • Sundanese (Basa Sunda) is spoken on the island of Java in Indonesia by 39 million people. While Sundanese does have its own script, it is today commonly written using the Latin alphabet, which is what our system uses.

In Central Asia, we are adding Kazakh, Tajik, and Uzbek:

  • Kazakh (Қазақ тілі) with 11 million native speakers in Kazakhstan. We've received strong support from Kazakh language enthusiasts, and we hope to continue collaborating with the local communities in the region to add even more languages in the future, including Kyrgyz.
  • Tajik (Тоҷикӣ), a close relative to modern Persian, is spoken by more than 4 million people in Tajikistan and beyond.
  • Uzbek (Oʻzbek tili) is spoken by 25 million people in Uzbekistan. In addition to receiving Uzbek community support, we've incorporated the Uzbek dictionary by Shavkat Butaev into our system.

We’re just getting started with these new languages and have a long way to go. You can help us by suggesting your corrections using "Improve this translation" functionality on Translate and contributing to Translate Community.

Posted by the Google Translate engineering team

Translate web pages more easily with the new Translate Chrome Extension

When you're browsing the web, you might come across a page where some of the text is in a different language. With the new update to the Google Translate Chrome extension, you can translate just that piece of text, without worrying about the rest of the page.

Simply highlight the text that you want to translate, and then click the Translate icon that appears. You can also right click and choose "Google Translate". If you click the Translate icon in the upper right of your browser window, with no text highlighted, you can translate the entire web page.

You can download and try the Translate extension from the Chrome Web Store; if you already have the extension installed, it will be updated automatically.

The Translate team is working hard to connect people by breaking language barriers across computers, mobile devices and Internet browsers. Our users make more than 1 billion translations a day, and we hope that our recent update will make their translation tasks a little easier!

Translate Community: Help us improve Google Translate!

Google Translate helps billions of people communicate and learn new languages, but it could always use a little help. 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.

In the new community, you'll find options to help with a variety of things, including generating new translations and rating existing ones. 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. 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 "Send feedback" link on the bottom of the page.

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Even if you don’t have time to dedicate towards Translate Community, we want to make it easier for you to make translation corrections when you find a problem. We’ve recently made it possible for you to suggest an entirely new translation directly in Google Translate.

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.  


So help us fine-tune and launch languages you care about: join our community efforts and make translations more accurate when you use Google Translate!

Posted by Sveta Kelman, Program Manager, Google Translate