Google Translate Gains Dictionary Info

    June 26, 2007

I’ve taken classes in Spanish, French, and Latin (not by choice), and each of them sent people scrambling for various translation aids.  Unfortunately, many of those aids were horrible (“the cow climbs up the tree”).  Now Google’s stepping forward – alas, a little late for me – with new dictionary translations for Google Translate.

“Google’s automatic translation is handy for getting translations of complete sentences, paragraphs, and documents,” notes Miguel Garcia, a software engineer, on the Official Google Blog.  “But when you need to translate a single word, a bilingual dictionary can be very useful because it gives you translations for the many possible meanings a word might have.”

The dictionary seems to be pretty up-to-date on French, Spanish, Italian, Korean, and, of course, English terms.  The German translations are clearly marked “BETA,” though, and Philipp Lenssen writes, “Results are often good but not always.”

He later continues, “While some basic words can’t be found, Google’s related phrases feature often offers a great range of fitting proverbs.”  This, at least, seems to remain true regardless of the language selected.

The one-to-one aspect of the dictionary translations will probably remain their strongest feature, however.  Garcia explains, “Now, for example, if you want to know how to say ‘play’ in Spanish, you can use out dictionary translation and learn that depending on the context it can be ‘jugar’, ‘tocar’, or ‘obra’, among others.”