Google Translate: App of the Month @ SF

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from: Longevity Explorers | Sequoias SF, SF Village

Discussion Summary

Michaela's App of the Month:

San Francisco Explorer Michaela explains to the group how she uses Google Translate, one of her favorite apps. In her presentation, she uses Zoom with screen share to make these points:

  • The Google Translate app has been available for some time but works better on Chrome than Firefox or perhaps some other browsers. 
  • Michaela demonstrates the translation of a Bulgarian news article into English on the screen. Entire websites can be translated. 
  • An extensive list of languages is available.
  • The mobile app is useful for travel: use the camera to read signs, directions - especially in exotic languages. It is good, but not as good as on the PC.
  • Helps communicate with foreigners in their languages - questions in English come out in the foreign language, spoken or in text.
  • Practice improves performance. 
  • The camera is useful: In foreign grocery stores - labels, food information, and for reading foreign language magazines.


Explorer Ron Explains the Process 

 If you want to copy a paragraph or page from your device, you drag and drop it on the left half of the blank page, or if you want to type it in, click on the horizontal arrows in the middle of the page to select the language you want to translate into. Then:

  1. If you want to type in some text, you just start typing, the system will recognize your input language.
  2. If you were to type in the bottom German sentence as your input, you would get the translated bottom sentence in English. 
  3. What I have done here is to start a new line after each added word and repeated the words from the line above before adding the next word.


An Example:

Ron: "This tutorial is done ONLY to help me explain the way Google Translate works."

  • The first German word Haben is used only by itself in accounting applications.
  • The word sequence Haben sie is translated correctly into "Do you have?"
  • The word sequence Haben sie sie suggests that the word sie has two meanings, which is correct.
  • The word sequence Haben sie sie alle suggests a third usage for the word sie when followed by alle.
  • The word sequence Haben sie sie alle in changes not only the word order but makes it into a question.
  • The word sequence Haben sie sie alle in Kaefigen minor change in word order.
  • The word sequence Haben sie sie alle in Kaefigen gesehen greater change in word order.
  • The word sequence Haben sie sie alle in Kaefigen gesehen? Notice the effect of the question mark?
  • Notice that all of the translated incomplete word sequences are grammatically correct word sequences.

The GoogleTranslate System basically does nothing but look for the most frequently encountered sequences of characters and words.


Questions and Comments

  • Which other translation apps have high ratings?
  • When traveling, handing the phone back and forth to translate is too close for COVID.
  • I use it for letters to Japanese relatives. 
  • It translates with a pronunciation guide in roman letters. 
  • Nuances of meaning and idioms make translation very complex. 
  • Facebook has a very good translation program
  • Good translators are hard to get and expensive. I prefer Google to do the job. Eliminates uncertainty.



 Languages continually evolve and the science of translation (i.e. Corpus Linguistics, analyzed by A.I.) makes a huge effort to keep up with the times. The group agrees that professional translators will not be out of work. 


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Key words: 
translation, language, Google Translate, apps