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What is Google Translate?

Are you using Google Translate? Sure, we all are. But what exactly is Google Translate and is there a better way to use it?

Google Translate is a brilliant piece of technology (called a machine translation application) that translates the text of any foreign language website into your native tongue. When using Internet browsers such as Firefox or Google Chrome, the program automatically translates foreign language text for you, but if you are not using those browsers then you will have to download the program yourself. While the program is not one hundred percent accurate, it translates the language well enough so that readers can get the general idea of what the text says. You can use the program on a Windows or Mac computer, or on an iPhone or Android phone.

Google Translate is an award-winning program, and its accessibility and ease of use make it a popular tool for people all around the world. As time has gone on, more languages have been added to the program, though there are a select few which cannot yet be translated directly to English. These are Belarusian, Catalan, Galician, Haitian Creole, Macedonian, Slovak, Ukrainian, and Urdu. The program can still translate these languages, but it must first translate the original language into another language before translating to English. For instance, Ukrainian must be translated to Russian, and then the Russian is translated to English.

With the exception of the previously mentioned languages, Google Translate actually ends up translating all non-English languages to English before translating to another non-English language. For example, a French man who wants to read a Portuguese website in French will actually be reading a Portuguese—English—French translation, rather than a simple Portuguese—French translation. This is easier for the program, but results in more mistranslated words or phrases.

Google Translate really comes in handy when it is installed as an app on your smartphone. Traveling in a foreign country becomes a breeze when you have the ability to instantly translate anything that you see or hear to your native language. Using augmented reality, you can simply take a picture of a road sign and use your finger to highlight the specific word or words that you want translated- and the program will translate them for you on the spot. You can either read the translation on the screen or have your phone play it audibly for you. While it would be wise to learn some of the foreign language before traveling, the app is certainly the next generation of pocket translator, and should definitely be installed before you hop on the plane.

So what do you think, is Google Translate such a great thing, or, it is just a regular online translator?


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