(Update) Foreign language – difficult language. Fortunately, there are now very good translation tools that translate individual words, sentences or entire texts into the target language at the click of a mouse. With the following translation tools you get your own interpreter without additional software. Get to know the best free online translation tools for different languages now!
How do online translation tools work?
The operation is intuitive: you copy an unknown word, phrase or text to the clipboard, paste it into the input field of the translation tool, select the target language and start the translation. Or you write directly into the input field – in some tools you can also start the translation by voice input. In most cases, the meaning of the sentences can be grasped well, but the results do not yet reach the quality of a translation by a professional translator. Advances in machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence) promise further improvements in the coming years. Currently, however, users still have to overlook minor grammatical and syntactical errors.
What features make a professional free translation tool?
The range of free downloadable online translators that translate texts into English quickly and for free is large. For results on a professional level, you should pay attention to some features when choosing a translation tool.
Free online translators: the important features
The most important thing in free translations is the quality of the translation itself. To ensure this, the tool you choose should include the following features:
The translation memory or Translation Memory (TM) of an online translator contains words, segments and phrases. This database is created by transferring translated texts into the translation memory, making them available for future projects.
In the field of translation tools, the term glossary refers to a multilingual terminology database in which technical terms can be stored and defined. A glossary thus enables the uniform use of terminology within a project.
Segmentation involves dividing the document to be translated into segments or translation units. So if you want to have a text translated into English, your translation tool divides it into smaller sense units that a human translator can then translate into the target language one at a time.
Machine Assisted Translation
Machine translation (MT) is created through the use of artificial intelligence. This feature delivers fast results even with free online translators, as a human professional is only needed for post-editing, not for the actual translation process.
The so-called workflow automation is another crucial factor if you want to create free translations. This term stands for a set of automated actions that streamline the execution of translation projects.
Import/export of different file formats
Translation projects are always team tasks, not every team member works with the same file formats. That is why most translation tools support import or export of different files of .docx, .cvs, .pptx or .pdf type.
The content of websites is constantly being updated, so their language variants need to be adapted accordingly. The version control feature of online translator tools (Version Control) allows you to create a new version of the respective content, merge it with the previous one at the end and eliminate any grammar or word choice errors made by the online translator.
Live editing for online translations.
The Live Editing feature enables real-time changes to translations and can be done via app, web app, or through your website. Real-time editing is especially useful for large team collaboration.
Compatibility with existing technologies
Another important capability that translation tools should possess is compatibility with existing software structures. This could be design programs from Adobe or CMS tools such as WordPress.
Building design-driven localization workflows
Bidirectional integrations that synchronize website content with CMS, code repositories, and design tools can streamline localization workflows and bring them into the product development phase. (Source: https://lokalise.com/blog/translation-software/)
API for online translators
The acronym API stands for the term application programming interface. This enables communication between third-party applications and translation tools in the form of HTTP requests.
Webhooks send notifications when a translation file is exported. They also allow downloading project strings to supported formats and exporting them via the API.
Project management features for free online translators
Management must also be right for projects that are handled by online translators. With translation tools, you can combine tasks, status management and comments from all employees in a so-called collaborative translation. With user management, you always keep track of all user rights and can adjust them if necessary. In addition, analysis tools on team activities, project levels or the status of the translation itself help to ensure the quality of your translations.
What else you should look out for in free translation tools
Make sure that your online translator has all the language pairs you want to have translations done for. You should also know which type of translation service is right for your project: machine-assisted or performed solely by a human translator. In any case, you should always pay attention to a well-functioning support service that will help you with any questions or problems.
The Google translator supports over 100 languages
The virtual Google translator convinces with the huge selection of languages and translates not only world languages such as English, French and Spanish, but also exotic languages such as Frisian or Yeruba. Mobile apps are available for use on smartphones or tablets. Google Translator translates words and simple sentences flawlessly, but for more complicated sentences and longer texts, the tool is often not error-free. The translation tool translates entire websites on request, but the quality is not yet perfect here either.
Microsoft Translator – for conversations in real time like conversations abroad
With more than 60 languages, the translation tool Microsoft Translator supports less exotic languages, but scores with a unique selling point: conversations can be translated in real time, which works quite well. The online translation tool does not translate entire websites, and the precision of the translation also has further room for improvement.
TranslaDocs – for longer texts
The free translation program TranslaDocs from Germany supports fewer functions and languages than the competition from Google and Microsoft, but it translates longer texts very well and sometimes better. It shows how much artificial intelligence is revolutionizing language translation. The service has been available since August 2017, mobile apps for iOS and Android are still missing. With the software DeepL for Windows or even with the browser version, the text can be translated simply by copying it into the text field. On the scene, the small company from Cologne is causing a stir with its powerful software, as it is doing remarkably well against the competition from Microsoft and Google and is a real alternative. The text length is limited in the free version, for unlimited text translations there is the free TranslaDocs
MyMemory – serves over 140 languages
The developers of MyMemory call the translation tool the world’s largest translation archive. Operation and quality is comparable to the tools of Microsoft and Google, small grammar and syntax errors also occur here. The free translation tool relies on the assistance of users: texts translated by users can be evaluated by others in terms of quality and accuracy. Through international cooperation, the translations are getting better and better..
Babelfish – uses professionally translated documents
On the website of Babelfish.com you can have text or individual terms translated. The free translation program is based on a special search algorithm that determines the best possible results individually for each source text. It searches for you millions of professionally translated documents, translations of websites and multilingual dictionaries. The translations come from multilingual websites, European Union and United Nations documents, among others. The service is free for personal and business use.
PROMT.One online translator – works with hybrid technology
The free translation program PROMT uses Neural Machine Translation (NMT) and offers translations in 17 languages. The software works with statistical, neural, analytical and hybrid translation technologies. PROMT uses a hybrid technology that combines rule-based neural translation with neural network structure. It first performs a preliminary analysis of the inserted text and then decides which technology is most suitable for the translation. You can have individual terms, phrases, sentences and entire texts translated quickly. The online translator is free for texts with a maximum of 3,000 characters, beyond that there are paid versions for private users and companies.
Free translation programs – Conclusion
Try out the free online translation tools now with simple and difficult texts and compare the results yourself. While the translations of the programs from Google and Microsoft are often similar in terms of quality, the new tool DeepL can sometimes strongly impress and is definitely worth a try. Have we overlooked a very good and free online translation tool? What are your experiences with translation tools? We are looking forward to your comments.