Google is celebrating of twelve years of Google Translate with several new features to the web-based translation tool as well as a new material design aesthetic. Based on a recent announcement from the company, the most noticeable difference is in terms of the web app's appearance. The new look has the same flattened-down card appeal that's been making its way across all of Google's other services and a new "Documents" button for translating entire documents at once. All other buttons and menus remain in place but with changes to fonts and scaling enhancing the ease with which those can be found and distinguished from the rest of the page UI. The search giant has also added the ability to add labels to saved translations and an easier way to bookmark phrases that may need to be translated more often. Those labels can be sorted into custom grouping too for easier rediscovery later on.
The new aethetic also extends beyond simply revamping the design of buttons and features through the implementation of new responsiveness design standards. In effect, that means that the interface of the new page will adjust itself for usability as the page's window is resized across any web platform. Maximized, the page will display as normal but scaling down the window will result in elements being reorganized and scaled to fit for a more app-like expeience. That way the experience of using Translate on the web will be consistent and easy regardless of whether the user is accessing the service through a smartphone, tablet, or other piece of hardware.
Background: The most recent changes to Google's Translate are mostly aesthetic, following on years of new features being added and improvements to overall functionality. While the tool started with only one set of languages when it launched more than a decade ago, Arabic and English, it now works with more than 103 languages. What's more, the company says it translates 30 trillion sentences or phrases every year, hinting that it may be one of the more reliable tools of its type. One of the driving innovations behind that popularity was the addition of AI-based translations online back in 2016. More recently, that same feature was made available for offline translations as well, improving Translate's accuracy under almost any circumstances.
Google has also made efforts to take translate beyond text entry with its AI-enhanced Lens application and integration. Lens is an augmented reality-based smartphone feature that allows images and text to be analysed, identified, and translated. That means users can take advantage of machine vision and the same type of AI driving Translate to read unknown text without having to type anything in at all. The text that's been tranlated from a snap can also be copied by the user for pasting elsewhere within the Android ecosystem or apps.
Impact: Google's new UI design language is arguably much cleaner, in general, making navigation better and improving overall usefulness. Bringing those changes to Translate represents just one more step in the search giant's ongoing effort to keep familiarity with its services across every available platform. Now, regardless of whether the underlying OS is owned by Google, users will be able to switch betwen a smartphone app for Google Translate or the same tool in any web browser without missing a step.