There are dozens of machine translators on the web, but probably none of them is as used as Google Translate. This does not necessarily mean that this machine translation is the best one created, but it is a good choice for someone who is looking for a free translator. Of course, we should always bear in mind that a machine is never as precise as a human, so we can never totally rely on the translation given. There are always quite a lot of mistakes, especially in long sentences and texts.
To begin with this article, I think it is quite interesting to know a little bit more about machine translation, so before continuing reading, you should take a look at this article I wrote some time ago. As I assume that you already know a little bit about machine translation, I will start talking about Google Translate.
Google Translate is a free statistical machine translator*, obviously provided by Google.
What I find more interesting about this translator is its multiple possibilities. We are able to translate words and phrases in a moment to almost any language we want. We can see the languages available here (57):
But this is not the only interesting part of this translator. One thing I find interesting is the fact that, once the word is translated, we can click into a button to listen to how the word is pronounced. And if we still are not able to understand the word perfectly, we can click into “Read phonetically” (only available in some languages like Armenian or Bulgarian) and Google Translator will give us an easier way to read the word. For example, “къща” is “house” in Bulgarian. As we are probably not able to read those type of letters, Google Translator will give us this: “kŭshta”, which will probably make our reading much easier.
Another good facility in the website is that we can have a keyboard in our screen. By clicking , this is what we will get:
We can move this digital keyboard through the screen and place it where we prefer. It is really useful when our keyboard does not work well on we prefer to use just the mouse.
New facilities have been added into this translation, and the one I most liked is the “suggestions” of the translation. When you translate a word, for example “casa”, from Spanish into English (“home”), there is now an option to click into the translated word, home, and Google Translate will show us more options to the translation. I think it is easier to understand with a screenshot:
I just clicked into “home”, and that was what I got. Google gave me more option to the translation. Of course, I also got a list of other possible translations for the word “casa”:
I think I have already mentioned the most interesting things about Google Translate, but you should take a look for yourself if you really want to learn to use this tool correctly. There are many possibilities and translations are quite good, so I really recommend you to go and take a look at it.
To end up, I will add just one more thing, and it is the free iPhone/android application. I strongly recommend it because it is a very easy way to always have a translator with you, and with the application, you will have the same possibilities as you have in the web, with some new options. For example, you are able to favourite a translation, so you can take a fast look at it whenever you want, and you can speak through the microphone and the translator will interpret what you are saying, in order to translate it. This is how the application looks like for iPhones:
* Statistical Machine Translator: according to Wikipedia, SMT “is a machine translation paradigm where translations are generated on the basis of statistical models whose parameters are derived from the analysis of bilingual text corpora. The statistical approach contrasts with the rule-based approaches to machine translation as well as with example-based machine translation.”
- Google Translate (07:06, 6 May 2011). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16.40, May 6, 2011, from: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Translate
- Statistical Machine Translator (21:47, 17 March 2011). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17.03, May 6, 2011, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistical_machine_translation
- Google Translate. In Apple iTunes. Retrieved 17.39, May 6, 2011, from: http://itunes.apple.com/es/app/google-translate/id414706506?mt=8
- Inside Google Translate. In Google Translate. Retrieved 17.45, May 6, 2011, from: http://translate.google.com/about/intl/en_ALL/