Google Translate is one of the most useful tools from the company, it launched in 2007 and since then, it has improved in many ways. It currently works with 90 languages, it lives online right from the Google search bar with commands like “translate x to y” where “x” is the desired word and “y” is the desired language. From the mobile app, users can download as many languages as they want so it can be used offline, they can use the virtual keyboard to type a word, use their voice, handwriting or even the camera to translate text in images in real time, which is particularly useful when traveling through a country with an unfamiliar language. Also, there’s a Phrasebook which can be synced across several devices allowing their most used phrases to be found faster.
The service has been getting better thanks to the Translate Community, where users can volunteer and contribute by providing translations or checking if a given translation is correct. Users can select from 2 to 5 languages and use the friendly interface to earn some badges according to their contributions and progress, they come in sets of 10 and they could be quite addictive. This is particularly helpful as there are some complicated phrases that can’t be translated literally, so people who understand the meaning of a phrase or an idiomatic expression can provide a colloquial phrase in the other language. The validation part shows some translations and you can choose the ones you think best describe the given phrase.
Now, Google is translating over 100 billion words every day so a lot of people are benefitting from the service. There are already hundreds of thousands of people contributing, so if you use this service frequently you might want to spend a couple of minutes contributing making it better. Google will include the corrections over time and it helps them to get to know the language a little better. So next time you need to get a translation; native speakers might understand you a little better through the app with these more accurate results or the more natural way of speaking.