Google Translate gets reverse translations, grouped synonyms, smarter rankings

Google yesterday announced in a blog post that it has updated its Translate service. It now has three new features that help you distinguish among translations of a word so you may better know which meaning of a word you are looking for. The three new features are Reverse Translations, Frequencies and Synonyms.

Google states that its users often check their translations by translating them back into their original language. The Reverse Translations feature distinguishes translations of different meanings and reveals subtle differences among similar words. Each translation of a word is now annotated with its most frequent reverse translation to help you with different meanings of a word.

Google Translate will now rank translations by relevance. Each translation is now marked as common, uncommon or rare by frequency indicators. According to Google, the ratings are based on “the vast number of translations” the company uses to train the system. Google Translate will now hide the rarest translations of a word by default, but you can still view them with a click.

Google Translate hits 200 million

Google Translate gets a better dictionary


Google Translate has also introduced a Synonyms feature. The service will now group together translations of a similar meaning together, instead of a long list of words. Related words will be grouped into clusters to help you quickly find the meaning of a word. This feature is currently available only for English, but Google states that it would be adding support for more languages soon.

Google Translate has turned into quite a popular service ever since Google launched it for mobile phones. The company announced in April this year that Translate has around 200 million active monthly users. This number was recorded only for visitors to the webpage, though, and leaves out the users on mobile devices, which should make a significant user base.

There are even more users using the service on Chrome, mobile apps, and YouTube. Also, people need to use a service such as Google Translate frequently when they are on the go. As a result, mobile traffic for Google Translate has more than quadrupled over the last year. People are also using the service all over the world. Google says that 92 percent of Translate's users are from outside the United States. That population, however, could also comprise of people from the United States travelling in foreign countries.

Translate began as a service at Google in 2001 when eight languages (English not included) could be translated to and from English. However, Google says that the quality of translation was not very good at the time. In 2003, Google engineers decided to work on the quality of translation and involve more languages. Google did improve their service at the time, however, the translating machine at the time was too slow to be a practical service. It took 40 hours and 1,000 machines to translate 1,000 sentences. So it shifted focus to speed, and a year later, it could translate, with quality, a sentence in under a second. In early 2006, Google rolled out support for Chinese and Arabic. On 28 April, 2006, Google announced its statistical MT approach, which focused primarily on core translation quality and language coverage. It then added more languages, including those that had smaller web presence such as Bengali and Esperanto.

Published Date: Nov 01, 2012 01:00 pm | Updated Date: Nov 01, 2012 01:00 pm