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Language Detection in Gmail

mcummins [PersonRank 1]

Friday, July 14, 2006
13 years ago3,337 views

Anyone noticed that Gmail automatically detects what language you're typing in when doing spell checking? I just tried sending the following short email:

   "Not wearing a helmet – tut tut!"

Try pasting this into a new message and spell checking. Amusing results.

Mrrix32 [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

My reply from spell check:

No misspellings found

Haochi [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

I guess a small number of languages are available for that, which would be the ones in Google translation.

Art-One [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

I didn't notice this but it works great if you use only one language in a mail. If you mix up the thing has problems. But this is really nice done and works even for Dutch...

iZeitgeist [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

>> "Not wearing a helmet – tut tut!"

How does Gmail detect many languages in this sentence, it's all in english AFAIK...

google.com/search?hl=en&lr ...

Haochi [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Oops, Google checks about 34 languages when you select "auto" in spelling check.

Mrrix32 [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Dosn't Check UK english even though it's on the list! why would they put it on the list if they don't check it?

Art-One [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Mrrix32: not enough users using it? :P

mcummins [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

Don't know what other people see when they spell-check that sentence, but it tells me:

"Spellcheck is not supported for Esperanto. However, we were able to spellcheck any English text that is in your message".

Screenshot here:


robots.ox.ac.uk/~mjc/spelling. ...



GMail probably does language detection using trigram statistics – looking at groups of three letters, and assessing the probability that they occur in different languages.
This normally works very well, but can be fooled for short sentences. Like my one, I suppose.

Art-One [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Does he really says Esperanto???

If I enter tut tut than he doesn't mention Esperanto. I find it very fascinating.

Kirby Witmer [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

>>Don't know what other people see when they spell-check that sentence, but it tells me:

"Spellcheck is not supported for Esperanto. However, we were able to spellcheck any English text that is in your message".<<

i get the same message here.... strange..

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