Google Translate App Gets AI-Powered Offline Mode on Android, iOS

Donna Miller
June 13, 2018

Google Translate has always been able to work offline for those traveling without a solid data connection, but there have been readily apparent drawbacks and limitations to that option. The example Google gave (below) shows how the AI translation does make a difference, although the result still isn't quite as good as the online version.

Google has updated its translation service with better offline translations thanks to an infusion of artificial intelligence. This update comes on the heels of rival Microsoft announcing an AI-based offline translator for your smartphones.

Cattiau says said the team rebuilt Google Translate from the ground up within the past year and a half, which resulted in a "more ideal technology" than what they had build over the previous decade of Google Translate's existence. Language sets are only 35-45MB in size and also run on lower-powered devices.

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"It uses broader context to help determine the most relevant translation, which it then rearranges and adjusts to sound more like a real person speaking with proper grammar", Cattiau says in a blog post. "This makes translated paragraphs and articles a lot smoother and easier to read".

That means translations now take into consideration the whole phrase instead of doing small chunks, says Google Translate product manager Julie Cattiau, who travelled the world to understand what improvements people wanted from the tool. The end result should be offline translations that are more accurate and almost on par with the quality users expect when an internet connection is available.

The update is being rolled out in a total of 59 languages, and is available on both Android and iOS platforms.

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