Google Translate gets smarter offline translation features that account for context

Joanna Estrada
June 13, 2018

You can access the NMT offline translations by going to the offline translation settings on the Translate app, and tapping the arrow next to the language name to download the package.

The company announced the update to Google Translate today, explaining that it has brought its neural machine translation (NMT) technology to offline translations. According to Google Translate Product Manager Julie Cattiau, the technology takes a nuanced approach by leveraging artificial intelligence to take a whole sentence into context instead of translating it piece-by-piece, making the translations better.

Cattiau went to places like India and Indonesia, where Google Translate sees the heaviest use (Google says 90 percent of the service's translations are done outside the United States).

The new feature, offline Neural Machine Translation, takes in to account the context of an entire sentence rather than just translating each individual word.

For many of us, this might not sound particularly useful, but if you travel often and don't always have a steady internet connection (or a phone plan that's active at all) you'll get significantly better translation results all over the world. Google even provided a comparison of how the quality of translations should soon improve for offline users. "This makes translated paragraphs and articles a lot smoother and easier to read".

At just 35-45 MB, offline language sets don't take up much space, either.

You'll still need to download the languages for offline use ahead of time, but majority clock in at around 40mb, which isn't too bad.

The NMT update will be rolled out in 59 languages over the next few days, Google said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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