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Old 05-20-2009, 07:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Gmail Translations: Who Needs It?

Source Gmail Translations: Who Needs It?

A new feature was recently introduced in Gmail that is available in the Labs tab in the Gmail settings. The Message Translation add-on makes it possible to translate incoming email messages with a click of the mouse button. A “translate message to” message will be displayed when viewing emails in Gmail that are not in the user’s default language. A user from the United States would see the option in emails not written in English while a German would see the option for all non-German emails that arrive in the inbox.
The feature has to be activated in the Labs tab of the Settings before it becomes available. It is possible to change the language that the message should get translated to in the same menu. The translated email will be displayed in the same spot that the original email occupied without reloading the rest of the page. The quality of the translations is equal to those of Google Translate. A great way of testing the quality is to enter a text into Google Translate, translate that text to another language and translate that text back to the original language. The general consensus is that it is possible to understand the meaning of the original text in most cases.

But who needs the translation service? It might be interesting for users who receive lots of email messages in languages that they do not understand. But how likely is that scenario? The average Internet user receives the majority of emails in the native language and if that is not English then in English as well. It might be helpful in some cases, for example running an eBay auction and receiving an inquiry from a foreign language speaking user.
Verdict:
Yes, some Gmail users might find this new translation add-on handy. The majority of users on the other hand will most likely ignore it recognizing that the service is not as useful as it might sound.
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