Revealed in the midst of the company’s Live from Paris event, Google Translate is gaining a much-needed upgrade as it’s gaining what is arguably the most important translation metric: context.
With the power of AI, Google Translate will begin to provide more “contextual translation options” complete with examples in the intended language. In the example given, the AI will be able to understand if you’re talking about ordering a bass (the fish) for dinner or ordering a bass (the instrument) for your band. The service will then provide sample sentences for each translation pertaining to a particular meaning.
Besides maintaining accuracy, the announcement states Google Translate will begin using “the right turns of phrase, local idioms, or appropriate words depending on your intent.” That way, the translated sentence will match how a native speaker talks.
The update will be rolling out to Google Translate on both mobile and browser versions within the coming weeks. At launch, only a handful of languages will be supported: English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish. Other reports claim more languages will be coming out months from now. We reached out to Google to confirm this; however, a representative told us the company doesn’t have any new info to share at the moment.
Updating the iOS app
Additionally, the Google Translate app redesign that first appeared on Android is migrating over to iOS. iPhone owners will now have a slew of quality-of-life changes such as a “larger canvas for typing [alongside] more accessible entry points”. The user interface has also been streamlined to make translating easier to do.
You’ll also have a more dynamic font that will autocorrect itself as you type. “Alternate translation and dictionary definitions” will appear alongside translations. Users can also hold the language button to “quickly pick a recently used language.” And swiping down on the text area brings up recent translations.
For the cherry on top, Google Translate on iOS will support an additional 33 languages from Hawaiian, Hmong, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish – just to name a few. It is recommended you download this batch onto your phone in case you get stuck without an internet connection and need to translate something on the fly. A set of instructions on how to download them can be found on the Translate Help page.
Hopefully, with these changes, Google Translate is able to shake its long-standing reputation of being inaccurate. But if you still don’t trust the service and want something better, be sure to check out TechRadar’s recently updated list of the best translation software of 2023.