With information and the world’s collective knowledge available at the fingertips of more than two billion people, its still hard to find relevant information as it might be in in Hindi or Afrikaans or Icelandic, and you speak only English—or vice versa?
As a bid to make all informational available on web to everyone, In 2001, Google commenced translation services that could translate eight languages to and from English. But bad quality of translation make it obsolete for users.
In 2003, Google launched a massive project to ramp up the translation quality and tackle more languages by hiring engineers working on machine translation.
Later Google retooled its translation system toward competing in the NIST Machine Translation Evaluation, a “bake-off” among research institutions and companies to build better machine translation.
With advantage of massive computing infrastructure and ability to crunch vast sets of web data, Google engineers worked smoothly on machine translation effectively using data-driven approach.
Started with a 40 hours and 1,000 machines to translate 1,000 sentences, soon Google Translate could translate a sentence in under a second, and with better quality.
Google Translate now provide translation services in 64 different languages, including many with a small web presence, such as Bengali, Basque, Swahili, Yiddish, even Esperanto.
With over 200 million monthly active users on translate.google.com, Google Translate is now focusing on People needing machine translation on mobiles.
Google at present is providing translation for webpages on the fly as users browse in Chrome, text in mobile photos, YouTube video captions, and speech-to-speech “conversation mode” on smartphones.