AI is about to make Google Translate a whole lot smarter

Google has unveiled enhancements to its Translate app across iOS, Android, and web platforms. These updates introduce supplementary contextual information to translations, enriching comprehension of the target language. Additionally, Google is harnessing greater AI capabilities to bolster Translate’s functionalities.

Primarily, AI is being employed to infuse additional context into translations and enhance the translation of images. The former objective is geared towards aiding users in accurately understanding words that possess multiple interpretations.

As an illustration, Google cites the word “novel,” which can signify a literary work, a new item, or something distinctive and inventive. Utilizing AI, Translate will furnish contextual insights to assist you in selecting the most fitting term for the context. In the coming weeks, Google will roll out this functionality for English, French, German, and Spanish languages.

The next capability employs AI and machine learning (ML) to accurately place translated text within an image. Presently, Google presents text in an overlay, which may not consistently align correctly. Google has announced that for users with an Android phone featuring more than 6GB of RAM, the text will seamlessly integrate into the image, creating a more “organic” visual appearance.

Furthermore, Google is introducing a fresh layout to the iOS app, following the deployment of the Material You redesign on Android devices. It remains uncertain whether Google will adopt the same styling or opt for a design more aligned with Apple’s Human Interface Design guidelines, a direction the company has suggested it might take. In any scenario, the upcoming design revamp will encompass a “reimagined Translate interface that offers an expanded area for typing and enhanced accessibility for initiating translations in conversations, utilizing voice input, and employing Lens camera translation.” This redesign will be consistent across iOS and Android platforms, introducing novel gestures, a more legible font, and an extended roster of languages for on-device translation. Noteworthy among the supported languages are Basque, Corsican, Hawaiian, Hmong, Kurdish, Latin, Luxembourgish, Sundanese, Yiddish, and Zulu.

While Google has historically integrated a modest level of AI into its offerings, the surge of generative AI in recent periods has notably intensified the motivation for companies such as Google (along with Microsoft’s revamped Bing experience) to prominently demonstrate the excellence and utility of their AI systems. The Google Translate app stands as an impressive asset for travelers, and these enhancements help navigate around some of the more complex challenges that AI utilization is currently encountering.

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