Type of site
|Neural machine translation|
|Available in||133 languages; see below|
|Users||Over 500 million people daily|
|Launched||April 28, 2006statistical machine translation) (as |
November 15, 2016 (as neural machine translation)
Google Translate is a multilingual neural machine translation service developed by Google to translate text, documents and websites from one language into another. It offers a website interface, a mobile app for Android and iOS, and an API that helps developers build browser extensions and software applications. As of May 2022, Google Translate supports 133 languages at various levels, and as of April 2016[update], claimed over 500 million total users, with more than 100 billion words translated daily, after the company stated in May 2013 that it served over 200 million people daily.
Launched in April 2006 as a statistical machine translation service, it used United Nations and European Parliament documents and transcripts to gather linguistic data. Rather than translating languages directly, it first translates text to English and then pivots to the target language in most of the language combinations it posits in its grid, with a few exceptions including Catalan-Spanish. During a translation, it looks for patterns in millions of documents to help decide which words to choose and how to arrange them in the target language. Its accuracy, which has been criticized and ridiculed on several occasions, has been measured to vary greatly across languages. In November 2016, Google announced that Google Translate would switch to a neural machine translation engine – Google Neural Machine Translation (GNMT) – which translates "whole sentences at a time, rather than just piece by piece. It uses this broader context to help it figure out the most relevant translation, which it then rearranges and adjusts to be more like a human speaking with proper grammar". Originally only enabled for a few languages in 2016, GNMT is now used in all 133 languages in the Google Translate roster as of May 2022.