Introduced in April 2006 and using United Nations and European Parliament documents and transcripts as sources for linguistic data, Google Translate began its existence as a statistical machine translation service. A decade later, Google announced that the service would switch to a neural machine translation engine, thus starting to work with whole sentences instead of the previous “piece by piece” approach. Now, mobile users of Gmail are finally receiving Google Translate support, previously available only for desktop users of Google’s email service.
Gmail was released two years prior to Google Translate and grew to over 1.5 billion users by October 2019. The native applications for iOS and Android devices have been around for over a decade and translations were only available for those using the web version. Last week, Google announced the arrival of “a native translation integration within the Gmail mobile app that will enable you to seamlessly communicate in a wide range of languages.”
Until now, mobile users had to select the text to translate first and paste it into another app with translation capabilities or on the web page of a similar service, including Google Translate. Now, the Gmail app shows a banner that allows the user to translate an entire email with a single click. Even more, automatic translations can be enabled, so all emails will be translated into the desired language without the need of user interaction.
The feature has begun its rollout on Android on August 8, and iOS users will get it starting on August 21. According to Google, the process will take up to two weeks to complete.