Google adds translation to Docs

Want to translate something you've written, or something that's been shared with you on Google's Docs and Spreadsheets service? Now you can.

Google continues to move language translation into more and more of its products. On Thursday, it became a feature of Google Docs, letting anyone do an on-the-spot translation into one of 42 languages.

The new feature, tucked away in a settings menu, has the smarts to automatically detect in which language the original document is written. It then opens the translated version in a new window, allowing you to compare and contrast the two side by side, more easily checking whether the translation has bungled any words or phrasing.

This new version can then either replace the original or be saved as a copy, though Google makes no visual indication in your document source list that its contents are in another language.

Over the last six months, Google has been quite busy adding translation to its other products, including its Gmail and Friend Connect services.

In Gmail's case, users can translate entire messages into one of Google Translate's supported languages; however, this feature must first be enabled in Gmail's Labs settings menu.

The translation implementation in Friend Connect is a little more interesting, as it's able to unify the language on any comment thread, regardless of how many languages in which the user comments are written.

Click to enlarge. CNET
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