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Google Translate Gains Offline Translation in 52 Languages

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Apr 12, 2001
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Google's Google Translate app was today updated to version 5.0.0, adding a new feature that allows users to translate words and phrases even when offline in 52 of the 103 languages available in the app. With the offline update, the app remains useful when no cellular or Wi-Fi connection is available, making it ideal for traveling.

Today's update also adds instant camera translation between English and Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), which is useful for reading signs and other content without needing to type words into the app. Instant camera translation is now available in a total of 29 languages and camera mode, which allows users to take pictures of text for higher-quality translations, is available in 37 languages.
What's New
- Offline translation in 52 languages
- Instant camera translation: English to/from Chinese (Simplified and Traditional)
- 13 new languages
Google Translate can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Article Link: Google Translate Gains Offline Translation in 52 Languages
 

Doctor Q

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Sep 19, 2002
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Google Translate and similar apps aren't perfect, and will never be, but they get a bit better each year. The maps and phrasebooks we might have carried around a decade ago are no longer necessary. I find an offline map and an offline translation app to be invaluable when visiting other countries.
 
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MacBH928

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May 17, 2008
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One of the best inventions. I wish Google would make it somesort of open-source or free for the world.

Since languages are not changing, there is no need to re-invent the wheel and everyone builds his own translator. 1 translator is enough for the whole world.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

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Nov 26, 2007
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Google Translate and similar apps aren't perfect, and will never be, but they get a bit better each year.

What makes you say they'll never be perfect? Translation is a finite problem... eventually you fix enough bugs/add enough features that there are no bugs to fix/features to add left (which means it's perfect.)
 
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AlliFlowers

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Jan 1, 2011
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That's pretty amazing. But I do want to remind folks that friends don't let friends use online translators.

For kicks and giggles, try entering a phrase in GT and translate it to German. Then copy that translation in and translate it to French, followed by Italian, and then Spanish. You should then be able to translate the final phrase back into English, identical to what you first entered.

This is one of my favorite results:

That's so off the chain! ---------> For this by its cover!
[doublepost=1462986643][/doublepost]
One of the best inventions. I wish Google would make it somesort of open-source or free for the world.

Since languages are not changing, there is no need to re-invent the wheel and everyone builds his own translator. 1 translator is enough for the whole world.

Of course languages are changing. Have you ever tried to read Chaucer? You need a translator just for that!

What makes you say they'll never be perfect? Translation is a finite problem... eventually you fix enough bugs/add enough features that there are no bugs to fix/features to add left (which means it's perfect.)

You will still miss the nuances that are only learned from context.
 
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justperry

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Aug 10, 2007
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Doctor Q

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What makes you say they'll never be perfect? Translation is a finite problem... eventually you fix enough bugs/add enough features that there are no bugs to fix/features to add left (which means it's perfect.)
Because natural languages evolve, making them moving targets, because natural languages are full of ambiguities, and also because some phrases and expressions don't have equivalents in other languages. Apps that give you "the translation" can't always be correct. Even if their databases and algorithms let them identify all the subtleties that a human might know, they'd have to give you all possible interpretations and somehow communicate the subtleties to you, or ask you about your intended meaning. Even a human translator would have that problem.

I'm not sure you'd even want an app that requires an interview or a language lesson when you just want to know how to say "I'm down with that" in Hawaiian.
 
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MacBH928

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May 17, 2008
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That's so off the chain! ---------> For this by its cover!
[doublepost=1462986643][/doublepost]

Of course languages are changing. Have you ever tried to read Chaucer? You need a translator just for that!

In the next 600 years when the language does change, they can come up with a new invention that translates, or they can just continuously update the current translator as the languages changes.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

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Nov 26, 2007
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Since languages are not changing

I definitely agree with you that it should be open-source, but you're incorrect that languages are not changing.

You know what you call languages when they don't change anymore? Dead.

What's the word for car in Latin? They don't have one, because the language died before cars were invented.

How about cellphone? YOLO? Emoji?

New things are created all the time, and so we have to create new words so that we can talk about the new things. This is why newer dictionaries exist and we don't all just use an English dictionary from hundreds of years ago.
 
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MacBH928

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I definitely agree with you that it should be open-source, but you're incorrect that languages are not changing.

You know what you call languages when they don't change anymore? Dead.

What's the word for car in Latin? They don't have one, because the language died before cars were invented.

How about cellphone? YOLO? Emoji?

New things are created all the time, and so we have to create new words so that we can talk about the new things. This is why newer dictionaries exist and we don't all just use an English dictionary from hundreds of years ago.

see my reply above, you can continuously update the google translator so that in the year 2616 when people need a dictionary/translator to read a 2016 newspaper, it still works just fine.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

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Nov 26, 2007
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see my reply above, you can continuously update the google translator so that in the year 2616 when people need a dictionary/translator to read a 2016 newspaper, it still works just fine.

Your statement, which you can still edit, or at least concede was incorrect, was "languages do not change". Nobody is arguing with anything else you said.

Although on this note, you're going to want to update the translator a lot more often than once every 600 years. I think once a decade might be safe... but annual or even more often is probably better.
 
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Shirasaki

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May 16, 2015
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What makes you say they'll never be perfect? Translation is a finite problem... eventually you fix enough bugs/add enough features that there are no bugs to fix/features to add left (which means it's perfect.)
No. It's not a finite problem.
Even there are new English words being invented somewhere everyday, and there are virtually countless possible combinations of Chinese characters, either meaningful or not.
Maybe, if we can live infinitely, after couple of centuries, we can see the time Translator goes into perfect.
 
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ixache

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Sep 23, 2015
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What's the word for car in Latin? They don't have one, because the language died before cars were invented.
Just a nitpick, and because it amuses me to no end: actually Latin is not really a dead language, more like undead, since there are no native speaker either.

There is a very small, very conservative, quasi-state where they have Latin as their official language. See their work to adapt Latin to modern usage: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/institutions_connected/latinitas/documents/index_lt.htm

Also of note: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contemporary_Latin
 
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=alex=

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Oct 17, 2014
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Google Translate is junk translation. When neither the source or the target language is English, Google Translate translates the input from the source language to English first and then translate it again from English to the target language. For English words that have more than one meanings, the second translation picks a different meaning than the one that is used in the first translation...
 
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MacBH928

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May 17, 2008
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Your statement, which you can still edit, or at least concede was incorrect, was "languages do not change". Nobody is arguing with anything else you said..

While I realise that languages do change over time, the context I was speaking of is during a ones life time(or few lifetimes). You can read The Raven by Poe, 171 years old, without a dictionary or translator.

Given enough time, even the Sun will die.


Just a nitpick, and because it amuses me to no end: actually Latin is not really a dead language, more like undead, since there are no native speaker either.

So in the Vatican they communicate with each other using Latin? I forgot how they define a dead language, it was either that nobody speaks it or that it is not getting any additional changes.

But why does the Vatican use Latin specifically, given that its not the original Bible language, so whats the significance?

Google Translate is junk translation. When neither the source or the target language is English, Google Translate translates the input from the source language to English first and then translate it again from English to the target language. For English words that have more than one meanings, the second translation picks a different meaning than the one that is used in the first translation...

While its not perfect, its free, instant, accepts text or voice, lives in your phone, and translates multi-languages. Just compare it to about 20 years ago when you had to carry a dictionary around and lookup every single word you need translated.

Its not best for academics, but it works for about 90% of common use.
 
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kdarling

macrumors P6
For kicks and giggles, try entering a phrase in GT and translate it to German. Then copy that translation in and translate it to French, followed by Italian, and then Spanish. You should then be able to translate the final phrase back into English, identical to what you first entered.

This is one of my favorite results:
That's so off the chain! ---------> For this by its cover!

Reminds me of the old anecdotes about computer translations from English -> Russian -> English.

"The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" --> "The vodka is strong but the meat is rotted"

"Out of sight, out of mind" --> "Invisible, idiot"

Idioms can be difficult :)
 
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a0me

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Oct 5, 2006
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Google Translate and similar apps aren't perfect, and will never be, but they get a bit better each year. The maps and phrasebooks we might have carried around a decade ago are no longer necessary. I find an offline map and an offline translation app to be invaluable when visiting other countries.
Google Translate, Bing and a bunch of other machine translation apps aren't even capable of translating basic greetings correctly for some of the most common languages; they got better at getting the rough meaning of a couple of sentences, but if you're visiting a foreign country you're better off with a phrasebook (for some reason, the desktop website works better than the app version)
 
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textman

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May 26, 2017
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Singapore
As someone working in the translation industry, Machine Translation (such as Google Translate) has been a major topic that we just couldn't ignore.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) nowadays indeed presents both a challenge and an opportunity to human translators and translation agencies. Challenge because a percentage of the translations works might be "taken over" by the machines (this has already started), opportunity is that it cuts out some tedious or repetitive parts from the work loads. Google is undoubtedly the top leading player in AI translation but to my personal experience with the language pair of English<>Chinese, despite that it may perform quite accurately with single words and short phrase (a good digital dictionary could do that as well), it's still far below expectation you would expect from an experienced human translator when dealing with longer "complex" sentences. I've done a small trial and the result is as below:

Chinese original: 公司选择张兰确实是公司经过综合考虑的
Human translation: It was based on a range of considerations that the company decided to choose Zhang Lan.
Google translate: The company chose Zhang Lan is indeed the company after a comprehensive consideration


The last version apparently won't make much sense to the readers, and yet this is just for a short straight sentence. An entire document full of "natural speeches" would surely see the translation divert farther in meaning. Machine translation, to it's greatest extend, would only be a helpful supplement to the human translation. And it's particularly useful when you just need to get a few short and simple phrases translated for general information purpose. AI might be the future (or at least part of the future) for the language industry, but it still gets a long way to go.
 
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