Google Translate now in 41 languages

Google marches ahead with its machine translation engine, adding Turkish, Thai, Hungarian, Estonian, Albanian, Maltese, and Galician.

This time last year, Google supported a mere 13 languages, which was in itself not bad.

But I particularly like the minor tweaks made to the site’s interface. As shown below, you can now click on your language to make it one half of a language pair — a welcome alternative to the pull-down menu, which continues to grow.


What I would like to see — and I suspect is less than a year away — is the ability to simply enter a URL and have Google auto-translate that Web site into your language without you having to specify your language. Google should already know this based on your locale setting — or at least let you set that preference ahead of time.

Google Translate can auto-detect the language for you right now — but you have to ask it to do that. Perhaps the processing overhead is such that Google doesn’t want to turn on this feature by default.

So, will Google support 70 or so languages a year from now? I doubt it, given the current economic climate. As Google notes on its blog, these 41 languages already address 98% of all Internet users. I assume that Google will focus less on language expansion and more on integrating Google Translate into its products as well as improving the UI.

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6 thoughts on “Google Translate now in 41 languages”

  1. “Perhaps the processing overhead is such that Google doesn’t want to turn on this feature by default.”

    I don’t think it is for this reason, language identification is not very processor intensive at all. Probably the reason is because it isn’t very reliable. Especially when distinguishing among related languages (e.g. Czech and Slovak, or Serbian and Croatian)… although in this latter case probably the translation model works almost equally well on both — and probably they mix them, e.g. translating English to Croatian:

    airport and aeroplane
    aerodrom i avion

    Here, “aerodrom” is the “international” word, which is also used in Serbian. The normative is “zračna luka”.

  2. Hello John,

    I found your blog while looking for the number of languages that Google translates into. I am writing a paper on job satisfaction among in-house translators and freelancers in the US. Do you happen to know how many in-house translators does Microsoft have in this country? I would greatly appreciate your response.
    Best regards,

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