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Gmail Labs Translate  (View post)

hebbet [PersonRank 10]

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
11 years ago6,057 views


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gmailblog.blogspot.com/2009/05 ...

WebSonic.nl [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

[Moved from "Gmail Labs: Automatic message translation" – Tony]

"Since the heart and soul of Gmail is about helping people communicate, I'm proud to announce the integration of Google's automatic translation technology directly into Gmail."

gmailblog.blogspot.com/2009/05 ...

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Heh. Almost three years to the day when I asked this question at Google Press Day 2006:

<< [Does] Google have any plans in the near future to integrate their statistical machine translation system with services such as Google News, Gmail, Google Talk and even Google Search? >>

Sergey Brin replied:

<< [...] We'd certainly love to get that launched into our products, and we're working on it.

It was really developed to be as good as possible in terms of the quality of the translation, not as “productionizable” as possible. So, I know it seems trivial, but it would actually take some work to make that happen. But we're committed to doing it and I believe we will succeed. >>

Above 3 comments were made in the forum before this was blogged,

Wouter Schut [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Aren't there privacy issues here?

I mean, your mail is send to some extra machine...

if the machine has trouble translating....will a human look at the text?

David Mulder [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

It feels kinda strange as firefox 4 should have ubiquity implemented defaultly and one of the things ubiquity allows is to select a text and quickly translate it inline.

Mysterius [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

[put at-character here]Wouter Schut: No, Google Translate will not send your emails to a human translator "if the machine has trouble translating". Besides the privacy angle, the turnaround time would hardly be fast enough to present you with immediate results.
If you're already using Gmail, and allow Google to deliver text ads to you, then this raises absolutely no new privacy issues.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Hmm, does anyone know how to define a secondary spoken language (that should not be translated)?

Veky [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Oh, comeon. This is probably the _least_ useful Gmail feature, IMO (well, besides the Delete button, of course;).

When was the last time someone sent you an email, that wasn't spam, that was in a language you don't understand? And expected you to understand/answer it? It just isn't done this way in a modern society. Prior to contacting someone, you try to find out what languages he or she speaks, or at least you contact him/her in English, the "official" language of the Internet. Even a very broken English you can hack out is still much better than whatever the machine comes up with, at least until machines understand concepts of human culture.

Of course, you can say that now that we have this feature, more and more people will be encouraged to send mails in languages not spoken by the recipient, but that, even if it would happen (not much people use Gmail anyway), would be an even bigger disaster. Now at least you spend a little time considering what you'll say to someone using his language or English. If message translation becomes universal, communication quality will drop considerably. Not to mention all the people who will try to "smartly" proclaim learning foreign languages unnecessary. :-o

Well, at least it's useful in translating spam. Now I finally know what these weird Chinese doctors want from me. :-D

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

> When was the last time someone sent you an email, that wasn't
> spam, that was in a language you don't understand?

When Google Reader introduced a similar feature so that it would automatically translate feeds, you could have asked a similar question. How many non-English feeds did I subscribe to before Google Reader added this feature? None. How many do I subscribe to now? A few. I'm not saying I'm suddenly going to start signing up to foreign language mailing lists, but I'm sure you get my point.

Also, I think you're purely thinking about personal users who only email their friends. If you consider how many businesses might receive emails in other languages, I think that's where this feature truly becomes useful. For businesses trading on the Internet, they're essentially open to everyone in the world (depending what product/service they're selling). This could help them decide whether it's worth pursuing a lead that could make them a lot of money, even if it's not from someone who can speak the same language. And it would be very useful to businesses that had translated their website but didn't have native speakers to handle any incoming queries in foreign languages. (I think you'd be surprised how many do this!)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

> When was the last time someone sent you an email,
> that wasn't spam, that was in a language you don't
> understand? And expected you to understand/answer
> it? It just isn't done this way in a modern society.

It happens to me all the time. A lot of the times, it's from people asking something about a website of mine, in particular if it's one of the multilanguage websites (like gamesforthebrain.com) or a website which doesn't have any text (like bomomo.com). I also get regular emails from a language course I'm taking and when I don't have the time to translate the message myself, I can now easily click translate. Furthermore, even if 50% of foreign messages are spam, it's at least good to know which ones are spam.

Carl Barron [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

That’s a good thing to do, yet the main problem I and my friends have with Gmail is that we can’t use it much at all, the reason being there’s no facility to create folders is there or have I missed something?

So it’s pretty useless, as having everything on one page would take you near enough forever to locate it in a busy e-mail box.

Signed Carl Barron Chairman of agpcuk

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Carl, you can use labels in a similar way to folders. Check this post on the Gmail blog:
gmailblog.blogspot.com/2009/02 ...

And this one on the (unofficial) Google Operating System blog:
googlesystem.blogspot.com/2009 ...

Jérôme Flipo [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

They've just added a nice feature to translate messages in the language of your choice. They should now make this "translation bar" expandable (from an little icon on the side, or a link in the "more action" menu).


img265.imageshack.us/img265/20 ...

TOMHTML [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

It was been added this night, and it's an excellent news!
Now I can translate nigerian scams into my language :)

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

> there’s no facility to create folders

As Tony says, labels can do everything folders can do, and more.

But Gmail also has an incredibly powerful search facility. It's like being able to create folders "on the fly" for any purpose.

It's quite liberating not needing to put effort into housekeeping and organization anymore, yet to have better access to the emails that you want to find.

milivella [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

"Translate to English" is now (at least, I guess is something new) available in Google Groups. And in this context it makes sense more easily than in Gmail... ;)

(I've spotted this option in the first post of the following thread:
groups.google.com/group/rec.sp ...
where the only word that was not a proper name was the non-English farewell expression "Tchau"...)

milivella [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

> (I've spotted this option in the first post of the following thread:
> groups.google.com/group/rec.sp ...
> where the only word that was not a proper name was the non-English farewell expression "Tchau"...)

The interesting thing that – it seems – a word in another language is enough to trigger the translation: see the second post in the linked thread.
Two lines in English, then a single "Abraço", but Google propose to translate it in English.

milivella [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

> "Translate to English" is now (at least, I guess is something new) available in Google Groups.

I has a delay of more than 30 days:
googlesystem.blogspot.com/2009 ...

Sorry...

James Xuan [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

[put at-character here]Tom

I don't think they have been able to figure out how to translate Nigerian-Spam-Language yet, at least – it doesn't seem to be on the list, and it's hard for a person to translate it, never mind a machine.

I dream of the day when there is a Nigerian-Spam>English option.

Thomas Hofmann Online [PersonRank 2]

11 years ago #

It is tricky. Because of:

"you see a mail written in a language other than your own"

But what if you are – let's say – German and have set your interface to english? Okay, to translate english EMails to German there is now a dropdown "Default translation language". But this option is under "General" and not under Labs. :-(

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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