Google Translate, Your Language Companion

March 15, 2013

Kristen Pae
4 February 2013
Word Count = 805

Learning a language is difficult, especially one that no one around you speaks. I am not a language person and was relieved when I fulfilled my one-year language requirement to attain a liberal arts degree. However, my goal of obtaining an economics degree shattered that relief by requiring another year of language, two years total. I am currently learning Korean, and it is even more difficult applying the language when I have no one to practice with.

Google Translate for mobile.

Google Translate for mobile.

Google Translate, available for Mac, PC, iPhone, and Android, can translate words and phrases from one language to another and has about 60 languages to choose from. To use it, select your input and output languages, and then choose a method for entering your text, which can be done by typing, using your phone’s keyboard, or by saying the words aloud. It is my language companion. It has voice recognition, which allows you to say a word or phrase and have it translated to a language of your choice. You can also use the voice recognition feature to check your pronunciation.

Pronunciation is crucial when learning a language, and determining if you are saying a word or phrase correctly by yourself is almost impossible. My language companion lets me know when I am saying a Korean word or phrase correctly by typing out what I say in Hangul and converting it to English. It also lets me know how to pronounce a word or phrase by speaking the translation out loud, and this can be done with 24 other languages.

Google Translate has many features, some of which I am only now discovering. “While Google Translate certainly performs a solid job translating, what really makes it shine are the extra conveniences it offers,” states Jaymar Cabebe. “You can set Google Translate to automatically detect your input language…for quicker translations.” It can also read foreign non-Latin scripts such as Hiragana and convert it to English and Romaji, which will help you even further with your pronunciation skills. “I started taking Japanese classes in the Fall,” states Michael Curcio. “I have used Google Translate to remember the meanings of words and look up new words. It has made it easy for me to [do] Japanese homework on my phone – anytime, anywhere.”

Google Translate has a dictionary feature that allows you to input a word and receive a list of synonyms in separate categories: noun, verb, adjective. You can also copy and paste words or phrases from the Internet or your text messages into the app to have them translated into a language of your choice. This gives you the convenience of not having to retype words or phrases and allows you to access translations in a timely manner. Google Translate certainly does make my life easier. This app has saved me a lot of time. I used to manually look up meanings to translate words and sentences from English to Korean and vice versa. With Google Translate, I can even star those translations to access them in the future, even when I am offline.

With this world becoming more globalized, you will encounter instances when you need to communicate with someone in a different language. If you are in a foreign country, “there’s a full-screen mode for magnifying the translation for better readability,” states Jessica Dolcourt, which allows others to easily read the translation if pronunciation is not your forte. “I’ve downloaded this app to help me assist others through language barriers,” states Bradley Young. “I’ve saved phrases such as ‘Do you take medication?’ or ‘Do you have any previous medical conditions?’ in common languages…. I’m sure when the situation presents itself, it could save a life.”

In fact, this app has helped save a few, if not many, lives. It helps make lives easier and removes some barriers between languages. In Oregon, police officers stopped an impaired driver. To top it off, the man could only speak Chinese. One of the officers took out his iPhone and opened Google Translate. “The man was able to speak into the phone and the app was able to translate his Chinese into English,” states Joe Aimonetti. “By using the app, the officers were able to determine that the man was having a diabetic reaction due to high blood sugar.” The officers were able to quickly get medical help, and the man was treated at a nearby hospital.

Google Translate makes communicating in another language convenient and achievable for everyone, anywhere and anytime. It’s great for people who are learning a language because it can be their study buddy and help them with vocabulary and pronunciation. It is practical to have because, with America being the immigration country, you may need it, and it may save a life.

Works Cited

Aimonetti, Joe. “Apple’s iPhone, Google Translate App Help Save a Life.” CNET. CBS Interactive Inc., 16 Feb. 2012. Web. 28 Jan. 2013.

Cabebe, Jaymar. “Google Translate.” CNET. CBS Interactive Inc., 13 Aug. 2012. Web. 28 Jan. 2013.

Curcio, Michael. “Google Translate App.” Laulima. 18 Jan. 2013. Online Web Discussion. 28 Jan. 2013.

Dolcourt, Jessica. “Google Translate App Comes to IPhone.” CNET. CBS Interactive Inc., 8 Feb. 2011. Web. 28 Jan. 2013.

Young, Bradley. “Google Translate App.” Laulima. 24 Jan. 2013. Online Web Discussion. 28 Jan. 2013.

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