Padmini HarchandraiApr 27, 2012 16:00:04 IST
We all use it, even if to just look up cuss words in other languages. Google Translate announced in a blog post that they're now standing at 200 million monthly active users. That number is only reflective of their stats on their website, translate.google.com. There are even more users using the service on Chrome, mobile apps and YouTube. Also, as you could imagine, people need to use a service like Google Translate frequently when they're 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% of Translate's service is coming from people in countries outside the United States. That population, however, could also comprise of people from the United States travelling in foreign countries.
Google Translate hits 200 million
Google goes on to say that on any given day, they translate enough text to to fill up 1 million books. In other words, Google's translation machine translates more work than all the professional human translators in the world on any given day. Google says that most of the translation work on the planet is done on their translate program, however, they cannot speak for the entire universe. They believe Douglas Adams' Babel-Fish may have beaten them to it. Google admits though, that, of course, no machine can replace the nuanced translation capabilities of a human expert, and as the machine grows, the importance of the nuanced human expert will grow along side.
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. In 2003, Google engineers decided to work on the quality of translation and involve more languages. They 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 they shifted focus to speed and a year later, they could translate, with quality, a sentence in under a second. In early 2006, they rolled out Chinese and Arabic. On the 28th of April, 2006, they announced their statistical MT approach, which focused primarily on core translation quality and language coverage. They then added more languages, including those that had smaller web presences like Bengali and Esperanto.
Google Translate has come a long way since its early days and has certainly provided not only travelers but readers and translators with a helpful guide. Do you use Google Translate regularly? Let us know in the comments section below.
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