If you’re hosting out-of-town visitors, receiving holiday cards from far-away lands or need other foreign language translation services, check out Google Translate, a free service that will translate text from one language into another. Choose from over 60 languages as your source and destination languages.
Google Translate Website
The Google Translate website, www.translate.google.com, offers easy and instant translation services. Put the text in the box with the red arrow shown above, choose the source language and the destination language and click Translate. The translation will appear in the right box (shown with a blue arrow above).
Not sure of the source language? Google can try to figure that out for you. If you don’t select a source language, Google will try to detect the language for you.
If you want to hear how a word is pronounced, click on the speaker button that appears in the bottom right corner of the text box when a word is entered into the box.
Google Translate Apps
Google Translate is also available as a free app for the iPhone and Android phones. The app allows you to speak the phrase instead of typing it (for 17 languages) and listen to the translation (for 24 languages).
You can save favorite phrases so you don’t have to keep entering them repeatedly. The app even gives you the option of spelling out the translation of non-Roman alphabets phonetically (for example, Chinese, Japanese, etc.).
Earlier this month the Android app was updated to recognize handwriting in Chinese, Japanese, English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German.
You can get the app here:
Google Translate Browser Add-Ons
If you frequently visit foreign websites, check out the Google Translate Add-On for your browser. By adding Google Translate to your browser, you can instantly translate websites from a foreign language into your native language.
Here are the links to add Google Translate to your browser:
Word to the Wise
Google Translate is especially helpful for casual translations. I wouldn’t suggest relying on it to translate a legal document or to use in a business transaction where precision is essential.
Also be warned not to take offense if the translation turns out to be something much different than intended. Translations aren’t guaranteed to be completely accurate and local expressions may not translate well.
For example, if you use the word “jolie” Google Translate may assume that you are referring to Angelina Jolie.
But of course, that’s correct. We were speaking of Angelina Jolie, weren’t we?
Have you used Google Translate? Do you have travel plans where the Google Translate app would come in handy? Do you need to translate websites often? Let us know in the Comments section below!
* Angelina Jolie image by Melena Rubinkas