On February 8, 2023, around a live event held in Paris, Google made several announcements about feature augmentation to its Search, Maps, and Translate apps, with AI as a common theme behind the enhancements.
Chief among the features scheduled for release in the next few weeks are long-awaited contextual translation options. The new context functionality will show alternate term equivalents to help disambiguate automated translations.
Google has also changed the design of its translation app on mobile devices, starting with its Android interface. It is still simple, but the space for typing has been enlarged. Dynamic fonts also adjust automatically as users type.
All the interface enhancements, the company claims, will make data inputting more accessible, including chats, voice messages, and images.
The company has also added 33 additional languages to the device for offline use. They include Basque, Corsican, Hawaiian, Hmong, Kurdish, Latin, Luxembourgish, Sundanese, Yiddish, and Zulu. Users can also download more languages to use Translate when there is low or no network connectivity.
Also, thanks to AI, translated text can now be placed into complex images on Android phones with 6GB+ RAM. AI-enabled image translation uses Google Lens, machine learning, and the device’s camera.
In a January 2023 issue of SlatorPod, Mallika Iyer, now former Head of Product, Translation AI at Google, spoke about how AI research was at the core of all the different Google translation applications. This announcement, which applies to the consumer-level Translate app, finishes with a promise for 2023: “we’ll be continuing to experiment with AI-led experiences in Translate to give you faster, more accurate, and dynamic translations in the app, and around the world.”