Google Translate

translate.google.com
1 Voted

Google Translate is a free online translation service offering translation of text in more than 100 languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu. It is available as both a website and a mobile application and garners over 200 million users daily.

 

One of my favourite features of Google Translate that I believe sets it apart from other translation tools is the ability to translate entire pages of text by simply using the camera on your mobile phone. By hovering the camera over a piece of text, Google Translate highlights each word and automatically translates it into the target language. This not only saves time searching each word or typing in entire sentences yourself, it allows you to quickly find out what a piece of text says, such as if you are in a museum or attempting to read an important document.

 

Another good addition, which is a relatively new concept to the service, is the symbol to indicate approved translations from the Translate Community. This comes in the form of a shield with a tick inside, and implies that a native speaker or professional translator has confirmed that it is the correct translation. A typical problem with translation tools is a lack of accuracy, and this helps to add assurance when translating text or discovering new words.

 

Finally, the option to have the translation read out to you is another fantastic feature that I frequently use. This helps, in particular, with speaking, as it teaches how to properly pronounce different words and sentences. Although, this function is not available in all languages, it is a good tool for the most common ones.

 

An issue I’ve encountered when using Google Translate is the lack of examples provided, which put words and phrases into context. As there are often different variants for how a word is used, it is not always clear if it has translated the most appropriate.

Pros
  • More than 100 languages
  • Ability to translate entire pages using phone camera
  • Shield symbol indicates approved translations
  • Speaker button indicates how words are pronounced
Cons
  • Words not put into context, making it difficult to judge suitability