Learn about Google Translate in Coffee with a Googler

AUG 10, 2015

Posted by Laurence Moroney, Developer Advocate

Over the past few months, we’ve been bringing you 'Coffee with a Googler', giving you a peek at people working on cool stuff that you might find inspirational and useful. Starting with this week’s episode, we’re going to accompany each video with a short post for more details, while also helping you make the most of the tech highlighted in the video.

This week we meet with MacDuff Hughes from the Google Translate team. Google Translate uses statistics based translation. By finding very large numbers of examples of translations from one language to another, it uses statistics to see how various phrases are treated, so it can make reasonable estimates at the correct phrases that are natural sounding in the target language. For common phrases, there are many candidate translations, so the engine converts them within the context of the passage that the phrase is in. Images can also be translated. When you point your mobile device at printed text and it will translate to the preferred for you.

Translate is adding languages all the time, and part of its mission is to serve languages that are less frequently used such as Gaelic, Welsh or Maori, in the same manner as the more commonly used ones, such as English, Spanish and French. To this end, Translate supports more than 90 languages. In the quest to constantly improve translation, the technology provides a way for the community to validate translations, and this is particularly used by less commonly used translations, effectively helping them to grow and thrive. It also enhances the machine translation by having people involved too.

You can learn more about Google Translate, and the translate app here.

Developers have a couple of options to use translate:

Watch the episode here: