Author Archives: Translate

Google Translate’s instant camera translation gets an upgrade

Google Translate allows you to explore unfamiliar lands, communicate in different languages, and make connections that would be otherwise impossible. One of my favorite features on the Google Translate mobile app is instant camera translation, which allows you to see the world in your language by just pointing your camera lens at the foreign text. Similar to the real-time translation feature we recently launched in Google Lens, this is an intuitive way to understand your surroundings, and it’s especially helpful when you’re traveling abroad as it works even when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi or using cellular data. Today, we’re launching new upgrades to this feature, so that it’s even more useful.

Instant camera translation.gif

Translate from 88 languages into 100+ languages


The instant camera translation adds support for 60 more languages, such as Arabic, Hindi, Malay, Thai and Vietnamese. Here’s a full list of all 88 supported languages.

What’s more exciting is that, previously you could only translate between English and other languages, but now you can translate into any of the 100+ languages supported on Google Translate. This means you can now translate from Arabic to French, or from Japanese to Chinese, etc. 

Automatically detect the language

When traveling abroad, especially in a region with multiple languages, it can be challenging for people to determine the language of the text that they need to translate. We took care of that—in the new version of the app, you can just select “Detect language” as the source language, and the Translate app will automatically detect the language and translate. Say you’re traveling through South America, where both Portuguese and Spanish are spoken, and you encounter a sign. Translate app can now determine what language the sign is in, and then translate it for you into your language of choice.

Better translations powered by Neural Machine Translation

For the first time, Neural Machine Translation (NMT) technology is built into instant camera translations. This produces more accurate and natural translations, reducing errors by 55-85 percent in certain language pairs. And most of the languages can be downloaded onto your device, so that you can use the feature without an internet connection. However, when your device is connected to the internet, the feature uses that connection to produce higher quality translations.

A new look

Last but not least, the feature has a new look and is more intuitive to use. In the past, you might have noticed the translated text would flicker when viewed on your phone, making it difficult to read. We’ve reduced that flickering, making the text more stable and easier to understand. The new look has all three camera translation features conveniently located on the bottom of the app: “Instant” translates foreign text when you point your camera at it. "Scan" lets you take a photo and use your finger to highlight text you want translated. And “Import” lets you translate text from photos on your camera roll. 


To try out the the instant camera translation feature, download the Google Translate app.

Source: Translate


Reducing gender bias in Google Translate

Over the course of this year, there’s been an effort across Google to promote fairness and reduce bias in machine learning. Our latest development in this effort addresses gender bias by providing feminine and masculine translations for some gender-neutral words on the Google Translate website.


Google Translate learns from hundreds of millions of already-translated examples from the web. Historically, it has provided only one translation for a query, even if the translation could have either a feminine or masculine form. So when the model produced one translation, it inadvertently replicated gender biases that already existed. For example: it would skew masculine for words like “strong” or “doctor,” and feminine for other words, like “nurse” or “beautiful.”


Now you’ll get both a feminine and masculine translation for a single word—like “surgeon”—when translating from English into French, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish. You’ll also get both translations when translating phrases and sentences from Turkish to English. For example, if you type “o bir doktor” in Turkish, you’ll now get “she is a doctor” and “he is a doctor” as the gender-specific translations.


gender specific translation

Gender-specific translations on the Google Translate website.

In the future, we plan to extend gender-specific translations to more languages, launch on other Translate surfaces like our iOS and Android apps, and address gender bias in features like query auto-complete. And we're already thinking about how to address non-binary gender in translations, though it’s not part of this initial launch.


To check out gender-specific translations, visit the Google Translate website, and you can get more information on our Google Translate Help Center page.

Source: Translate


A new look for Google Translate on the web

It’s been twelve years since the launch of Google Translate, and since then Translate has evolved to keep up with the ways people use it. Initially translating between English and Arabic only, we now translate 30 trillion sentences per year across 103 languages.

Google Translate has become an essential tool for communicating across languages, and we recently redesigned the Translate website to make it easier to use. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The site’s new look is now consistent with other Google products, and updated labeling and typography make it easier to navigate. For instance, you’ve always been able to upload documents for translation, but now that feature is easier to find. 
  • Now it’s even more convenient to save and organize important translations you regularly utilize or search for. We’ve added labels to each saved translation, so if you speak multiple languages, you can sort and group your translations with a single click.
  • We've made the website responsive so it can adjust dynamically for your screen size. So when we launch new features, you get a great web experience across all your devices: mobile, tablet, or desktop. 
translate web redesign gif

The new responsive website adjusts dynamically to your screen size.

To check out the new site, visit translate.google.com.

Source: Translate


Bringing hope to a refugee family, using Google Translate

In 2015, I joined Google to be a part of a company using technology to help others. I’m proud that Google’s commitment to its mission—to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful—remains strong 20 years in. I knew I wanted to be a part of it all, but had no idea that I would experience the power of our mission firsthand, and that it would help me to forge a friendship when I least expected it.

For the past three years, my wife and I have been working with organizations involved with refugee resettlement efforts. We both have immigrant parents, so we’ve heard stories about resettling in a country to make a better life for your children, but being forced to leave a country is very different. These refugees are often fleeing from life threatening situations. Aside from dealing with their past trauma and being in an unfamiliar place without a support system, they often can’t speak the local language.

My wife and I learned of a family of four—Nour, Mariam, three-year old Sanah and six-month-old Yousuf—who settled in Rialto, 45 minutes from where my wife and I grew up in Southern California. Through the assistance of organizations such as Hearts of Mercy and Miry’s List, they settled into an apartment shortly before giving birth to Yousuf. Still recovering from injuries sustained in Syria, Nour was unable to work, and had to rely on the help of others to get by. Without a car, their options were further limited. Then, in April of this year, they faced their hardest challenge yet: their daughter Sanah was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma.

We wanted to help, but didn’t know where to start—and as new parents ourselves, we could relate on a personal level. We fundraised for the family and collected toys for Yousuf and Sanah in hopes that they could feel supported. Moreso, we wanted to help them get through Sanah’s treatments with as little to worry about as possible.

A few weeks after we first heard of their story, we went to their home to meet in person. Nour was waiting outside for us, and we quickly realized there was a challenge that we had overlooked: the family only spoke Arabic. There I was, face to face with Nour, wanting to hear his story and reassure him that he’s surrounded by a supportive community, but couldn't convey those thoughts or give Nour the ability to convey his. The only option I could think of was Google Translate, which I had used in previous international trips, and hoped would bridge this gap.

I opened the app to translate a few words, but we couldn’t get far by manually typing sentences. Instead, I tried "conversation" mode, which allows for real-time audio translations and makes the interaction feel more natural. We talked about his family’s story and what they were up against. I learned that back in Syria, Nour was shot twice in the back, and endured the deaths of his brothers. Now, Nour and Mariam are giving up everything to take care of Sanah and spend up to two hours commuting on a bus to and from her hospital treatments. Through all of this, they continue to be optimistic and hopeful, and are grateful for being able to make it to America.

image (2).png

A snapshot of my visit with Nour.

I never imagined that we could sustain a 90-minute conversation in two languages, and that it would bring us closer together, inspiring me in a way I didn’t expect. Without Translate, we would have exchanged a few pleasantries, shared poorly communicated words and parted ways. Instead, we walked away with a bond built on an understanding of one another—we were just two fathers, talking about our fears and hopes for our family’s future. To this day, we stay connected on how the family is doing, and I’m looking forward to keeping this relationship going for a long time.

Refugee families often find themselves in situations that may seem normal to you and me—like at the DMV trying to get a driver’s license—or worse, in a dire situation like a hospital, with no way of communicating. We generally think of technology as an enabler of change, driving efficiency or making the impossible happen. But in this case, technology allowed me to make a life-changing connection, and brought me closer to family who was very far away from home.

Source: Translate


Lost in Translation no more with Word Lens in Japanese

If you don’t speak Japanese, Tokyo can be a confusing and sometimes daunting place to visit. Even if you make it through the complex subway system, you’ll be faced by street signs, menus or products on supermarket shelves that are only in Japanese. 

With Word Lens now available in Japanese, you’ll never have to worry about taking a wrong turn on a busy Shibuya street or ordering something you wouldn't normally eat. 

The Google Translate app already lets you snap a photo of Japanese text and get a translation for it in English. But it’s a whole lot more convenient if you can just point your camera and instantly translate text on the go. With Word Lens, you just need to fire up the Translate app, point your camera at the Japanese text, and the English translations will appear overlaid on your screen—even if you don't have an Internet or data connection. It’s every savvy traveller’s dream! 

Google Translate: Cash only

To turn your smartphone into a powerful instant translation tool for English to Japanese (and vice versa), all you need to do is download the Google Translate app, either on Android or iOS

Source: Translate


Celebrating languages in the European Parliament

Ten years ago when we launched Google Translate, our goal was to break language barriers and to make the world more accessible. Languages shape our identities, culture, how we relate to others and how we communicate. They’re an additional source of cultural wealth, worthy of celebration. 

To mark this important milestone, and thanks to the commitment of MEP Catherine Stihler, we organized a reception in the European Parliament earlier this month. To demonstrate how some of the tools of Google Translate work, artists Donnie Munro and Trail West performed a beautiful and melancholic love song in Scots Gaelic, which was translated into English on Google Translate for the audience of MEPs and their staff, and translators working in the European Parliament.
europarliament.JPG
Donnie Munro singing in Scots Gaelic, with a translation to English on the screen

MEP Stihler stressed the importance of minority languages for local communities at the event, a sentiment shared by her colleague Jordi Sebastia (Co-Chair of the Languages Intergroup), when he said that Europe means diversity.

Google Translate in the European Parliament

As our policy director Lie Junius explained, Google Translate cannot replace the essential work done by the professional translators in the European Parliament. But we do think it can be a tool that can help people understand each other, also in the most difficult of times, such as demonstrated by stories of British families opening up their homes to refugees, using Translate to start their conversations with them.

In the last decade we’ve grown from supporting two languages to 103, and from hundreds of users to more than 500 million people. And we’ll continue to improve Translate.  In February 2016 we announced that we’re adding 13 new languages to Google Translate, including Scots Gaelic, Luxembourgish, and Corsican - covering every single one of the EU member states' official national languages. 

Source: Translate


An update on our response to the refugee and migrants crisis

Millions of people around the world want to do what they can to help refugees and migrants caught up in the crisis in Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa. We wanted to give you an update on where things stand as we continue to think about what Google—and all of us—can do to help.

A month ago we invited everyone to make a donation to support the work of organizations providing essential assistance to refugees and migrants. We were amazed that in just over 48 hours people around the world donated €5M ($5.5. million) to support the work of Doctors Without Borders, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. As promised, we then matched your donations with €5M in Google.org grants to support high-impact projects, like offering wireless connectivity solutions in refugee camps, providing emergency cash transfers to refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, and enabling access to education. Googlers around the world also gave, donating more than €1.2M (matched by Google) to charities working on the humanitarian efforts.

These organizations and their staff are doing incredible work in very difficult circumstances, and have the skills and contacts necessary on the ground. With that in mind, we’ve been working with them to better understand how our technology expertise can be put to work, too. One issue identified was the the lack of timely, hyperlocal information for refugees. Working with the International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps, we’ve developed an open source project called “Crisis Info Hub” to disseminate such information in a lightweight, battery-saving way. Already live in Lesvos (with more locations coming online shortly) and being run by our NGO partners, Crisis Info Hub is providing refugees—most of whom carry smartphones—with critical information for their journeys: lodging, transportation, medical facilities, etc. And we’re working to make connectivity in the region more widespread and reliable by partnering with NetHope to deploy robust access solutions where they’re needed most.

Migrant-response.width-972.png

When refugees travel across different countries, they’re confronted with languages they don’t speak, which can make it even more difficult to know where to turn to access the most basic needs. Just this year, we saw a 5X growth in Arabic translations in Germany, which got us thinking about what we could do to make our products work better for Arabic speakers in these places. We’ve since added Arabic as our 28th language for instant visual translation, enabling immediate, offline translation of signs and other printed text from English or German to Arabic. We’re also asking anyone who knows the languages spoken by refugees or the countries they’re traveling through to help us improve translations through Google Translate Community—our goal is 2 million community contributions. Hundreds of thousands of people have helped out already; if you speak Arabic and German, we’d love your help.

Improve Google Translate for Refugees

Improve Google Translate for Refugees

In the coming weeks, we’ll continue to work closely with our partners on the ground to evaluate how else we can bring the best of Google’s resources to help out with this tragic situation. Thank you for all your generosity and support so far.

Source: Translate


Make the most of the last weeks of summer

A couple of weeks ago, I took a summer trip with friends. I found myself using plenty of Google tools while we were on vacation: from finding the best flight there and a last-minute hostel reservation, to discovering hidden gems in each city we visited, even I was surprised by how much Google made everything easier and smoother.

With that inspiration, we’ve created a one stop shop at g.co/summer with tips to help you also make the most of these last few weeks of summer.

SummerTimes

Here are a few tips you might find useful too:

Tips 1
Tips 2

Meanwhile, my mom back home in New York found some great local activities and museum exhibits, like the MOMA Rain Room, using Google Now in her Google Search app. She even tried some Google+ MakerCamp classes, which inspired her to create her own DIY projects at home.

Post about your summer using hashtag #SummerTimes, and see what other folks are up to.

Happy summer!

Source: Translate


A Google guide to summer vacation

In the northern hemisphere, summer is just around the corner and U.S. National Travel & Tourism Week, recognized every year in May, officially marks the start of the biggest travel season of the year in the United States. Here are a few quick tips from us to make planning, traveling and sharing your summer adventures a bit easier.

Plan flights and hotels with just a few clicks: Flight Search & Hotel Finder

Flights and Hotel Finder
Left: Flight Search, Right: Hotel Finder

Begin your trip by finding, comparing and booking domestic or international flights from the U.S with Flight Search. Search for airports or cities, e.g., [flights to JFK] or [flights to New York City], at google.com and flight results will immediately appear below. Select the time and price that work best for you or click "more results" to further filter your search.

You can use our Hotel Finder experiment to find your perfect hotel based on price, time, proximity to landmarks and user images and reviews. As you glance over specific hotels, add the ones you might be interested in to your own personal shortlist. Click the red “Book” button to go ahead and make the reservation.

Live like the locals: Maps, Translate and Goggles

Maps and Translate

Left and center: Know where you are and find offers near you with Google Maps, Right: Know how to ask with Google Translate

If you’re in need of a local guide, Google Maps for Android can help. Find driving, transit, walking and biking directions, voice-guided navigation and nearby places to eat, shop and play. We just added a few more improvements to the app, including walking directions for indoor maps (U.S. and Japan) and Google Offers near you (U.S. only) so you can discover great deals on the go. Street View technology is also taking you indoors on your mobile—view interiors of participating businesses and museums so you know what to expect before your visit. And of course, you can always use the Street View feature in Google Maps to preview vacations spots around the world, from public landmarks and gardens to amusement parks, zoos and other popular attractions that have partnered with us to get their locations online.

If you’re traveling to a region where you don’t speak the language, use the Google Translate app to bargain with a local vendor or tell a taxi driver where you need to go. You’ve also got Google Goggles at your disposal—one click and you’ll know exactly what you are ordering on a menu. Get it for both your Android and iOS devices.

Keep your memories, even if you lose your device: Google+ Instant Upload

Google+ photos

Your photos from your phone get uploaded instantly to Google+, ready to share.

The Instant Upload feature, part of the Google+ app on Android and iOS, ensures that any photo snapped along the way will be instantly saved to the cloud for safekeeping in a private album, no matter what happens to your phone. Once uploaded it's easy to go into your Google+ photos via the mobile app or your computer, view photos “From Phone” and then easily choose to share to the circles you want. In the case above, I took some sunrise pictures, sorted them on my computer when I got back from my trip and then shared them with my family (if you’re wondering how I shot that panorama above, here’s a tip—if you have the latest Android operating system you can take beautiful panorama pictures by clicking panoramic mode).

For a live, firsthand look at how you can use Google to plan your summer vacation, join us for a Hangout on Air at 10:30am PT tomorrow, Thursday, May 10, on the Google+ page. We'll have some in-house experts on hand to show you how to use Google to take your dream vacation.

Of course, we don’t want to make it too easy on you. Part of the joy of traveling is being adventurous and encountering the unexpected. We hope these tools help make your travels more informed and enjoyable, without losing the thrill of spontaneity or that hidden gem you may find when you take a wrong turn. Bon voyage!

Source: Translate


A Google guide to summer vacation

In the northern hemisphere, summer is just around the corner and U.S. National Travel & Tourism Week, recognized every year in May, officially marks the start of the biggest travel season of the year in the United States. Here are a few quick tips from us to make planning, traveling and sharing your summer adventures a bit easier.

Plan flights and hotels with just a few clicks: Flight Search & Hotel Finder

Flights and Hotel Finder

Left: Flight Search, Right: Hotel Finder

Begin your trip by finding, comparing and booking domestic or international flights from the U.S with Flight Search. Search for airports or cities, e.g., [flights to JFK] or [flights to New York City], at google.com and flight results will immediately appear below. Select the time and price that work best for you or click "more results" to further filter your search.

You can use our Hotel Finder experiment to find your perfect hotel based on price, time, proximity to landmarks and user images and reviews. As you glance over specific hotels, add the ones you might be interested in to your own personal shortlist. Click the red “Book” button to go ahead and make the reservation.

Live like the locals: Maps, Translate and Goggles

Maps and Translate

Left and center: Know where you are and find offers near you with Google Maps, Right: Know how to ask with Google Translate

If you’re in need of a local guide, Google Maps for Android can help. Find driving, transit, walking and biking directions, voice-guided navigation and nearby places to eat, shop and play. We just added a few more improvements to the app, including walking directions for indoor maps (U.S. and Japan) and Google Offers near you (U.S. only) so you can discover great deals on the go. Street View technology is also taking you indoors on your mobile—view interiors of participating businesses and museums so you know what to expect before your visit. And of course, you can always use the Street View feature in Google Maps to preview vacations spots around the world, from public landmarks and gardens to amusement parks, zoos and other popular attractions that have partnered with us to get their locations online.

If you’re traveling to a region where you don’t speak the language, use the Google Translate app to bargain with a local vendor or tell a taxi driver where you need to go. You’ve also got Google Goggles at your disposal—one click and you’ll know exactly what you are ordering on a menu. Get it for both your Android and iOS devices.

Keep your memories, even if you lose your device: Google+ Instant Upload

Google+ photos

Your photos from your phone get uploaded instantly to Google+, ready to share.

The Instant Upload feature, part of the Google+ app on Android and iOS, ensures that any photo snapped along the way will be instantly saved to the cloud for safekeeping in a private album, no matter what happens to your phone. Once uploaded it's easy to go into your Google+ photos via the mobile app or your computer, view photos “From Phone” and then easily choose to share to the circles you want. In the case above, I took some sunrise pictures, sorted them on my computer when I got back from my trip and then shared them with my family (if you’re wondering how I shot that panorama above, here’s a tip—if you have the latest Android operating system you can take beautiful panorama pictures by clicking panoramic mode).

For a live, firsthand look at how you can use Google to plan your summer vacation, join us for a Hangout on Air at 10:30am PT tomorrow, Thursday, May 10, on the Google+ page. We'll have some in-house experts on hand to show you how to use Google to take your dream vacation.

Of course, we don’t want to make it too easy on you. Part of the joy of traveling is being adventurous and encountering the unexpected. We hope these tools help make your travels more informed and enjoyable, without losing the thrill of spontaneity or that hidden gem you may find when you take a wrong turn. Bon voyage!

Source: Translate