Ever had the urge to translate a website written in Corsican, Pashto or Luxembourgish? Good, because Google’s now got you covered.
The latest update adds 13 languages to Google’s stable: Amharic, Corsican, Frisian, Kyrgyz, Hawaiian, Kurdish (Kurmanji), Luxembourgish, Samoan, Scots Gaelic, Shona, Sindhi, Pashto and Xhosa. Just because you likely don’t recognise most of them, doesn’t mean the update isn’t significant — according to Google, it means Translate now covers 120 million more people than it did yesterday.
Google also took the opportuntity to explain how new languages are added, and how its algorithm learns to translate:
As we scan the Web for billions of already translated texts, we use machine learning to identify statistical patterns at enormous scale, so our machines can “learn” the language. But, as already existing documents can’t cover the breadth of a language, we also rely on people like you in Translate Community to help improve current Google Translate languages and add new ones, like Frisian and Kyrgyz.
Translate is one of Google’s often-forgotten services, but also one that has a huge affect on its users. English accounts for approximately half of all websites on the internet, depending on whose definition you’re working from; Translate provides a fantastic way to access the other 50 per cent of knowledge we’re all missing out on.