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How Google Translate is uniting the human race.

Tracking tech news and commentary, we all get caught up in the scandals, politics, speeds and feeds and competitive jockeying between companies all competing for survival and dominance.

But every once in a while, you just have to stop and smell the awesome.

Sometimes you realize that technology is making the world a better place in profound ways that would have been pure science fiction just a few years ago. Such a realization happened to me yesterday right here on Google+.

Here's what happened:

ALSO: Everybody please SHARE this post. Let's get everyone on Google+ using Google Translate!
Mike Elgan's profile photoJay Fuerstenberg's profile photoVaggelis Kapartzianis's profile photoGraham Hartle's profile photo
عشق ومعرفت در کنار هم ایستاده اند تا شاد باشند
Star Trek Universal Translator being realized.
I noticed that your stolen bicycle thread was attracting a lot of comments in Chinese; that plugin makes it a whole lot easier to translate them.
It's gotten very good recently - the times where I copy/paste a paragraph and can't get the gist of it are few and far between. I've been trying to immerse myself in more Spanish and Google Translate is my go-to tool for helping me understand the words/phrases I don't know.
I used the Google Translate Android App last Friday to help a few elderly folks learn how to use their digital cameras and cell phones. They were just two among many English speakers, but they didn't have to wait for me to have extra time to translate with physical gestures.
Web translation on my Android phone let me help them with no more trouble than usual. One spoke Korean and the other spoke Spanish.

It will even guess the language spoken!

Universal translation is almost here! Now I just want the database to be downloadable for offline use... Come on, Google, I'd pay for that.
They really should make "translate" an option on any post that's not written in your default language in your google account. Even without it though I've found i'm talking to a fair number of people who mainly speak languages I don't know lately.
Another reason why Google+ will continue adding more and more users. Language is no barrier. Google has so many tools to integrate into Google+. By the time they are done, Facebook will be scampering
+Damilola Oni Google has a unique position here. They're starting from the point where a lot of people already use/rely upon their various services for their daily activities. Convincing them to use one additional service (G+) will be MUCH easier then where Facebook is... Trying to convince people to give up a number of different applications and services and use only Facebook.
I still think 747 operating instruction shouldn't be run through Google translate. Or operating instructions.
It's important that we have multi-lingual people who can direct us at what to look at from other language groups. I really appreciate those of you who put those pointers up.
Dan O
I use Google Translate every day to communicate and reply in the native languages of my various Followers here on Google Plus.

It isn't perfect by any means... there are mis-translations that come across as odd to native speakers... but it enables me to interact with people that I couldn't communicate with otherwise.

I've had more than one person ask me how I knew Russian, Romanian or whatever... and then I told them about Google Translate.

And I LOVE the Google Translate Android app! Speak an English phrase in and it immediately translates it to speech in the target language. A terrific travel accessory!

Have you tried any of these wonderful tools?

#language #translation #English #travel
Great article Mike. Google Translate is a very powerful tool for connecting the world, and I use the G+ translate extension all the time, most often for Spanish, Japanese and Chinese =)

I know this is down the road, yet I envision that Translate's "Conversation" mode will really take off once AR HUD glasses (and eventually contacts) from Google and others become mainstream. Imagine being in a foreign country and having the native language appear as subtitles in your chosen language in real time, overlaid on your vision. And when you talk, speakers in the glasses or your smartphone can say it instantly to the other person in their language. Talk about breaking down the language barrier...
Dan O
+Alex Murphy I wonder if the Googleplex is actually working on that even as we speak???
Oh wow...this extension rocks. Thanks for sharing!
+Dan O'Shea They probably are! There's enough evidence now to confirm that Google is working on HUD glasses, and the Translate app will certainly improve in the years before this could become reality. The main challenge is probably adapting the app to a "transparent" UI.
I use Google Translate to communicate with distant relatives living in Italy who found me on facebook.
i use google translate to respond to every non English comment on my photos.. it is amazing, as you say. +Mike Elgan
A lot of people don't realize this (because they only speak one language) but Google Translate is very VERY broken.

English ⇔ Japanese is beyond a joke. Spanish and French texts mix gender prepositions etc...

Always double check EVERYTHING Transkate gives you by googling it to see if people really talk this way!
This is very cool, even if the translation isn't perfect. I'm going to install this plugin. I could have used it a few days ago!
+Jason Fuerstenberg It doesn't actually do translation, as it doesn't do grammar. However, it does a great job of letting you know what people are talking about generally, which is great. The alternative is either a TON of work, or ignorance about what people are saying. I love it.
+Mike Elgan Fair enough. For connecting people it might be better than nothing.

Google's approach to translation, be it for a single word or a longer phrase, is perhaps not the best one. They translate words by indexing snippets of previously found multilingual texts online. Instead, they should be diving down into the meaning of the words (translation of concepts). This is not easy of course and requires the software to be modeled in a completely different way from what Google did with Translate. Even Siri has difficulty with it.

What concerns me is I'd hate to see an inter cultural argument erupt over a misunderstanding brought on by Google's potentially incorrect translation.

French gives us some great examples of what can happen here. The word 'personne' can mean both 'somebody' and 'nobody' depending on the greater context. Likewise the word 'plus' can mean 'more' or 'no more'.

Don't get me wring, I think the spirit of what Google is attempting is noble. But in implementation it falls far from the ideal. People should double check their translations if they care how people will receive them.

Trouble is, not everyone on Google+ is using Chrome. And most people that do use Chrome won't bother installing yet another extension to translate posts. Facebook introduced such a feature back in October, which even allows users to contribute better specific translations, and that's the way to do it, I believe
This is a great tool. I have it on my iPhone and it is brilliant. If you could just do a version for Safari my browsing life would be complete.
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