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Google improves support for Indian languages in Google Translate, Gboard, and more

Google India has announced a new set of products and features to better serve about 80% of Internet users in India who are not fluent in English.

Published onApril 25, 2017

The Google Translate icon.

Google India has announced a new set of products and features to better serve about 80% of Internet users in India who are not fluent in English.

The translation on Google Translate now is more accurate and easier to understand, especially when translating full sentences. Google explains that this is because of the new Neural Machine Translation technology that has been introduced for translations between English and nine widely used Indian languages — Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam, and Kannada. The new Google Translate feature is available on the Google Translate app, at, and through Google Search.

According to the company, neural translation is a lot better than its old phrase-based system, translating full sentences at a time, instead of pieces of a sentence. It uses this broader context to help it figure out the most relevant translation, which it then rearranges and adjusts to be more like a human speaking with proper grammar. Google had introduced the neural machine translation to Google Translate last year.

Just like it’s easier to learn a language when you already know a related language, we’ve discovered that our neural technology speaks each language better when it learns several at a time. For example, we have a whole lot more sample data for Hindi than its relatives Marathi and Bengali, but when we train them all together, the translations for all improve more than if we’d trained each individually.

Also, the Chrome team and the Google Translate team have worked together to bring the power of Neural Machine Translation to web content, making full-page translations more accurate and easier to read to and from English for the same nine Indian languages.

Google has also announced addition of 11 new languages to the list of 11 existing Indian languages supported by Gboard — with transliteration support. Today’s update also includes a new text editing tool that makes it easier to select, copy and paste, plus new options for resizing and repositioning the keyboard so it fits to your hand and texting style.

Gboard has all the bells and whistles of the Google Keyboard — plus Google Search built in. It also allows you to search and use Google Translate right in your keyboard.

Gboard offers auto-correction and prediction in these new languages, plus two layouts for each—one in the native language script and one with the QWERTY layout for transliteration, which lets you spell words phonetically using the QWERTY alphabet and get text output in your native language script.

The company also announced that starting today, it will automatically add translations to local reviews on Google Maps, both on mobile and desktop. When you launch Google Maps, and open reviews, they’ll appear in both the original language as well as the language you’ve set on your device.

Also, when you search for the meaning of a word in English, you’ll get a dictionary straight in Google Search. The company is bringing the Rajpal & Sons Hindi dictionary online in collaboration with the Oxford University Press. This new experience supports transliteration so you don’t even need to switch to a Hindi keyboard.

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