Google just unleashed a new feature to help users break through the language barrier. After you enable the feature, you’ll be able to translate any email you receive with a quick click of the mouse. The new Gmail translation feature can translate 41 different languages, including Thai, Estonian and Maltese.
Automatic translation is available to all Gmail users including those who use the email software as part of the apps collaboration and communication suite for organizations. It will help users to communicate better in today’s multilingual world.
The goal of this feature is to make it easier for people who work for international companies to communicate. Theoretically, using the Gmail translation feature you could hold a conversation via email with employees from around the world, and each employee would be able to communicate using his or her native language.
Chris Dawson of ZDNet Education sees another possibility for the new feature: allowing students to have email pen pals who speak other languages.
However, it should be noted that computerized translation is far from perfect. No computer program has yet been invented that can correctly translate 100% of conversations from one language to another, especially when figurative language or colloquial expressions are being used. So, messages translated using Gmail’s translation service may come out sounding a little off when read by a native speaker.
This new tool is useful however, users should be aware that machine translation is not always reliable, even Google themselves have acknowledged that machine translation technology isn’t perfect.
Google do maintain that even if mistakes creep into the text, the recipient will be able to get the gist of the message.
In an article on eWeek.com, Jeff Chin, the Project Manager of Google Translate, said as much in an email interview:
“It can be quite useful in providing the quick gist of a message, especially if you receive a lot of e-mails that aren’t in your native tongue,” he wrote. “If the translation is awkward or not quite right, you can quickly return to the original message by clicking ‘View original message’ link.”
If clear communication is your goal, it is advisable to use a professional translation company who can assist you with your translation needs