May 19th, 2009 | Published in Gmail (Google Mail)
Back in the early days of human existence, before language had fully developed, our caveman ancestors probably did a lot of grunting. Language, and thus life, were pretty simple: watch out for that saber-toothed tiger ("Blorg! AIYA!!!"); stop riding the wooly mammoth and help me pick some berries ("Argh. Zagle zorg!"); man, it's cold in this Ice Age ("Brrrr.").
Somewhere along the line, all those grunts diverged into thousands of distinct languages, and life became both richer and more complicated. And for the last few eons or so, we've struggled to communicate in a multilingual world. Which brings us to today. Since the heart and soul of Gmail is about helping people communicate, I'm proud to announce the integration of Google's automatic translation technology directly into Gmail.
Simply enable "Message Translation" from the Labs tab under Settings, and when you receive an email in a language other than your own, Gmail will help you translate it into a language you can understand. In one click.
If all parties are using Gmail, you can have entire conversations in multiple languages with each participant reading the messages in whatever language is most comfortable for them. It's not quite the universal translators we're so fond of from science fiction, but thanks to Google Translate, it's an exciting step in the right direction. I use this feature everyday to help me work with teammates around the globe (they think my Japanese is much better than it really is...shhhh!).
Whether you're reading a family update from inlaws on the other side of the world, working with a multinational team, or just trying to bring about world peace, don't worry, Gmail's got your back.
Till next time, adiós, またね, tchau, and 再見!