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Google Translate gets AI-powered contextual translation

Published Feb 8th, 2023 9:10AM EST
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Image: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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Google Translate got a big update during Google’s surprise press conference in Paris, France. If you expected to see Google integrate its ChatGPT rival called Bard into Maps, Search, and Translate, you should know Google can’t do that just yet. Moreover, Google announced the Bard chatbot separately with a blog post on Monday, beating Microsoft to the punch. Microsoft unveiled Bing support for the actual ChatGPT bot a day later.

The Paris event focused on various AI features that Google has been developing for some of its main apps. And Translate is certainly one Google app that needs all the help it can get from new artificial intelligence innovations. Understanding and accurately translating languages is much more nuanced than simply matching the words.

That’s what Google aims to do with the future of Translate. Google is bringing more contextual translation options to the app. That’s where AI will play a big role, offering users descriptions and examples in the translated language:

So whether you’re trying to order bass for dinner, or play a bass during tonight’s jam session, you have the context you need to accurately translate and use the right turns of phrase, local idioms, or appropriate words depending on your intent, with languages including English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish rolling out in the coming weeks.

As you can see in the following image, it should be even easier to get what you need from Google Translate.

Google Translate will support contextual translation.
Google Translate will support contextual translation. Image source: Google

The app is also getting a new design on iPhone after Google updated the look on Android recently. The iOS app will feature a larger canvas for typing and more accessible entry points for translating conversations, voice input, and Lens camera data.

The Google Translate app will now support new gestures to make it more accessible. You’ll need fewer taps to get to a language, and recent languages will be more accessible.

The results are more legible, too, featuring a dynamic font that adjusts as you type the text.

Retrieving recent languages in Google Translate.
Retrieving recent languages in Google Translate. Image source: Google

Finally, Google Translate will support more on-device languages for a total of 33. The list now includes Basque, Corsican, Hawaiian, Hmong, Kurdish, Latin, Luxembourgish, Sundanese, Yiddish, and Zulu.

That means you can translate even more languages when you don’t have a network connection, as long as you download them ahead of time.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.