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Google Chrome, Maps and Gboard app to support next level translation: All you need to know

Google on Tuesday showcased a smarter (faster and more efficient) version of its translate tool and said that it can now be used by users to translate between English and nine most widely used languages in the country.

tech Updated: Apr 25, 2017 16:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Google,Google news,Google new translate tool
Google has launched an updated Translate tool that allows to change any site content to nine Indic languages.(Google)

Google Chrome, Google Maps and the Gboard app has been injected with the latest upgrade of the Translate tool that will provide users with better and faster results, the company said on Tuesday.

As a part of the upgrade, the new improved Translate tool will allow users to translate anything from English to nine other most widely used Indic languages -- Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telegu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Kannada and Malayalam. This means that if any user wants to read any site content that is in English, then they can change it to any of these languages.

However, Melvin Johnson, a Google researcher and engineer who works on machine learning, told HT that the new Translate tool is not effective in more than one change in language and it may result in loss of quality. Hence a change from English to Hindi is fine but then from Hindi to Bengali may not provide the same level of translation. He also said that the new tool may not be accurate with grammar and is nearly 80% full proof.

“Neural translation, the technology on which the new tool works, is a lot better than our old phrase-based system, translating full sentences at a time, instead of pieces of a sentence,” Melvin explained, adding, that “it uses this broader context to help it figure out the most relevant translation, which it then rearranges and adjusts to be more like a human speaking with proper grammar.”

The screenshot shows the basic difference in the translation engines introduced by Google. (Google blogs)

Melvin also said that the new technique improves the “quality of translation more in a single jump than we’ve seen in the last ten years combined.”

Google has built the new tool in Chrome and users can translate pages with just one click or tap. This means that higher quality translations of everything from song lyrics to news articles to cricket discussions can be done on Chrome.

The screenshot shows how the new translate feature works. (Google blogs)

The company also will offer the Translate tool on Google Maps for user reviews. “With this update, millions of these reviews – from restaurants to cafes or hotels – will appear in your own language,” Melvin said.

All users need to do is launch Google Maps, open reviews, and they will appear in both the original language as well as the language you set on your device. The company also launched the Rajpal & Sons Hindi dictionary online. The new dictionary will support transliteration so users don’t even have to switch to a Hindi keyboard, Google said.

Further, Google has updated its Gboard app with 22 languages. “Today, we are ramping up support to include 11 new languages to the list of 11 existing Indian languages —with transliteration support—including Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, and Gujarati,” a company spokesperson said.

The update will also bring in a new text editing tool that makes it easier to select, copy and paste, plus new options for resizing and repositioning the keyboard so it fits a users’ hand and texting style. Gboard will also come with better accuracy and predictions while users type.

“Like Google Indic Keyboard, Gboard has auto-correction and prediction in these new languages, plus two layouts for each—one in the native language script and one with the QWERTY layout for transliteration, which lets you spell words phonetically using the QWERTY alphabet and get text output in your native language script,” the spokesperson explained.

Google is crowdsourcing the translations too and India has a community of 500,000 users already. Translations are vetted and then added to the language dictionary. The language dictionary is updated and can be downloaded via app updates.

First Published: Apr 25, 2017 16:00 IST