Google has launched a series of new features and improvements in Google Translate to make it easier for Indian users to access content in regional languages. The tech giant also announced that there were now more non-English speaking Google users in India than English-speaking ones.
Google Translate will now be using the company's neural machine translation technology to translate between English and nine Indian languages, namely Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati, Telugu, Malayalam, Punjabi and Kannada. Introduced by Google last May, neural machine translation is an improvement over the older phrase-based system, as it translates full sentences at a time, rather than translating pieces of a sentence. Google Translate carries out over 1 billion translations daily, with 85 percent of its users residing outside the US.
"At Google, our mission in India is Internet for every Indian. We have identified several barriers that prevent Internet access," Rajan Anandan, Vice President, South-East Asia and India, Google, said. "Out of all of these efforts, the most important aspect is making India's Internet more inclusive for every Indian. The Indian language speaker struggles to get the value from the Internet."
The search giant also released a new joint report by Google and KPMG called "Indian Languages: Defining India's Internet." According to the report, India currently has 234 million Indian language Internet users, as compared to 175 million English Internet users. The Indian language user-base is growing at 18 percent annually and will reach 534 million in the next four years.
The company will also extend the neural machine translation to the auto-translate functionality on Google Chrome, making it possible for Indian language users to translate entire web pages in English with greater accuracy and fluency. The new translation tool will also be available on Google Search and Maps to help users discover new places, as well as reviews of hotels, restaurants and cafes.
The company has also added support for 11 more Indian languages on its Gboard keyboard app. Gboard now offers transliteration support for 22 Indian languages, including Hindi, Bengali, Maithili, Dogri, Kashmiri, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu and Gujarati. Google Search now also offers a Hindi dictionary service, in partnership with Oxford University Press. This new tool allows users to use their existing keyboard to look up word meanings in Hindi.
"The most important aspect of making the web meaningful for all of India is to make India's Internet more representative of the India we live in," Anandan said. "With today's launches, we are taking a huge step forward to bring down the barriers that stop Indian language users from getting more out of the Internet and also help the industry solve the needs of a billion Indians."