Google added a message translation feature to its Gmail service on Tuesday that covers 41 languages, the latest in many “experiments” the search giant offers through Gmail Labs, which includes a series of features users have the option to add or delete.
With message translation enabled, Gmail users will see an option called “Translate message to English” or some other language, depending on settings, for an instant translation. Message translation currently covers 41 languages. If you don’t like the translation, you can revert to the original message.
“While our translation system is quite good, machine translation is a challenging problem and we know it’s not perfect. However, it can be quite useful in providing a quick gist of a message, especially if you receive a lot of e-mails that aren’t in your native language,” said Google Translate product manager Jeff Chin in a blog post.
Chin also credited Google’s use of cloud computing for being able to quickly ramp up new services and features.
“With the power of cloud computing, this feature is available to all Gmail users – without having to buy servers, install software, or write code to integrate translation into email applications,” he said. “The cloud also makes possible our approach to machine translation in which thousands of computers process billions of words of monolingual and bilingual text to build statistical language and translation models.”
In a separate post on the company’s official Gmail blog, software engineer Darren Lewis, joked:
“I use this feature everyday to help me work with teammates around the globe (they think my Japanese is much better than it really is…shhhh!).”
Google uses Labs to introduce new features including an integrated search function added to Gmail earlier this month and earlier additions such as video chat.
The introduction of a new service is happier news for Google, which last week had to apologize for an outage that affected about 14 percent of its users worldwide.