Google Translate

Google Translate
Google Translate logo.svg
Screenshot of Google Translate.png
Google Translate homepage
Type of site
Neural machine translation
Available in109 languages, see below
OwnerGoogle
URLtranslate.google.com
CommercialYes
RegistrationOptional
UsersOver 500 million people daily
LaunchedApril 28, 2006 (2006-04-28) (as statistical machine translation)[1]
November 15, 2016 (2016-11-15) (as neural machine translation)[2]
Current statusActive

Google Translate is a multilingual neural machine translation service developed by Google, to translate text, documents and websites from one language into another. It offers a website interface, a mobile app for Android and iOS, and an application programming interface that helps developers build browser extensions and software applications.[3] As of September 2021, Google Translate supports 109 languages at various levels and as of April 2016, claimed over 500 million total users, with more than 100 billion words translated daily.[4]

Launched in April 2006 as a statistical machine translation service, it used United Nations and European Parliament documents and transcripts to gather linguistic data. Rather than translating languages directly, it first translates text to English and then pivots to the target language in most of the language combinations it posits in its grid,[5] with a few exceptions including Catalan-Spanish.[6] During a translation, it looks for patterns in millions of documents to help decide on which words to choose and how to arrange them in the target language. Its accuracy, which has been criticized and ridiculed on several occasions,[7] has been measured to vary greatly across languages.[8] In November 2016, Google announced that Google Translate would switch to a neural machine translation engine – Google Neural Machine Translation (GNMT) – which translates "whole sentences at a time, rather than just piece by piece. It uses this broader context to help it figure out the most relevant translation, which it then rearranges and adjusts to be more like a human speaking with proper grammar".[9] Originally only enabled for a few languages in 2016, GNMT is now used in all 109 languages in the Google Translate roster as of September 2021, except for when translating between English and Latin.[10]

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Statistical machine translation was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference GT_Turovsky_2016 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ "Translations Made Simple: The Usefulness of Translation Apps". April 8, 2020. Archived from the original on April 29, 2020. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  4. ^ Turovsky, Barak (April 28, 2016). "Ten years of Google Translate". Google Translate Blog. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  5. ^ Benjamin, Martin (2019). "How GT Pivots through English". Teach You Backwards. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  6. ^ Benjamin, Martin (2019). "Catalan to Spanish Translations". Teach You Backwards. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  7. ^ Hofstadter, Douglas (January 30, 2018). "The Shallowness of Google Translate". The Atlantic. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  8. ^ Benjamin, Martin (2019). "Source data for Teach You Backwards: An In-Depth Study of Google Translate for 103 Languages". Teach You Backwards. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  9. ^ "Found in translation: More accurate, fluent sentences in Google Translate". Google. November 15, 2016. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  10. ^ Cite error: The named reference supportedlanguages was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

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