This post looks at various tools (desktop, browser-based and beyond) that make accessing and translating with Google Translate easier and fun.
Browser-Based Google Translate Tools
The main ways to access Google Translate are of course, provided through a standard web browser.
In terms of official products, there is a multi-browser supported Translate bookmarks, which work by allowing users to select a language, store it as a toolbar bookmark and then use it to auto-translate entire pages on demand with a simple click. Besides, Google Translate is a built-in feature inside Google Toolbar:
Unfortunately, the toolbar can prove to be a bit of a hassle for people who are looking for simple tools to help with international browsing. Sadly (and surprisingly), none of the official tools provides a worthy language auto-detect feature.
If you want something that’s a little more flexible, it may be worth trying out one of the following translation addons for the Firefox browser. The best option is an add-on called gTranslate, this is a great piece of software that allows users to translate any highlighted paragraphs of text from a specific web-page. It automatically identifies the language being used in the text and provides a translation based on the language preferences set up in the user’s browser, whilst providing the option to translate into any of the 50 language supported by Google Translate.
Two alternative options for Firefox are My Translator and Easy Google Translate, both of which have similar functionality to gTranslate, although each provides the translations in slightly different ways. My Translator makes the translation available in the context menu, whilst Easy Google Translate displays it as a balloon over the original text (which can be useful when trying to learn a foreign language).
Desktop Based Google Translate Tool
Whilst it isn’t really anything other than a prettier version of the online translation tool, AIRTranslate provides a very clean-looking desktop-based utility which runs off of Adobe Air. Unfortunately (though quite understandably), you still need to be connected to the Internet in order to use it.
As with the Google Translate homepage, you need to manually input (or copy and paste) the text you want to translate into the translation field. The program will then automatically detect the language it’s written in before presenting the user with the option of what language they want it translated into.
Translations appear in the same box that the original content was put in, with the option to revert the text back to the initial language by simply double-clicking on the text.
Gtalk Translation Bots
If you are an active Google Talk user, turning it to a translation tool might be a good idea. All you need to do is to add one of these Google bots (formatted as [from language]2[to language]@bot.talk.google.com) to friends and send it the message you want translated.
And which Google Translate tools do you prefer? Please share your thoughts!
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