Google adds language translation to Gmail

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Google adds language translation to Gmail

Google has launched a new translation feature in Gmail which could allow colleagues in global organisations to communicate with each other in their native language.

After enabling 'message translation' from the Labs tab under Settings, users will find that any emails that drop into their inbox in a foreign language will come with a 'translate message to' option.

"If your entire company uses Gmail, email communications between people in your company can take place in the language that's most comfortable for them. Each person can write messages in their native language, and the recipients can translate the messages into their respective native languages," wrote Google Translate product manager Jeff Chin in a blog post.

Chin admitted that the machine translation technology Google uses is not perfect. "However, it can be quite useful in providing a quick gist of a message, especially if you receive a lot of emails that aren't in your native language," he said.

"If the translation is awkward or not quite right, you can quickly return to the original message by clicking 'view original message'."

When vnunet.com tried the tool to translate a message sent in German, Google Translate did a pretty good job of conveying the general gist.

However, anything more than basic sentiments and information may be difficult to express using the technology, and companies may need to think twice before encouraging staff to communicate with each other via Gmail in their native languages.

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