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Google Play will now machine translate Android apps for free

At the Google for Games Summit, Google announced the launch of free machine translation for Android apps. This will make it easier for developers to launch their apps in seven languages.

The translations will presumably use the same technology that powers Google Translate to automatically translate in-app text (via XML or CSV files), store listings, and product descriptions into other languages. This will help Android developers save time and money that they would otherwise have to spend on traditional translation.

This isn’t the first time that Google has sought to help developers reach a more global audience. Today, the company offers a premium translation service where developers pay per word translated. While a paid translation will most certainly still be better than a machine translation, it’s great to see Google offer a free alternative.

The benefits here are three-fold. Developers can save money and still make their apps available to those in other regions. End users can enjoy more apps in their native tongue, even if the translations are imperfect. And Google gets to build a stronger, more global app ecosystem for Android.

To use the new machine translation capabilities, Android developers will simply need to upload their app’s strings in their primary language, and then select the languages they want to translate into. Google will then automatically translate the texts into the selected languages. When complete, developers can download the results and incorporate them into their apps.

At launch, Google is offering free translation to seven languages, with plans to expand to more in the future:

  • Chinese (Simplified) – zh-CN
  • French (France) – fr-FR
  • German – de-DE
  • Indonesian – id
  • Japanese – ja-JP
  • Portuguese (Brazil) – pt-BR
  • Spanish (Spain) – es-ES

For now, the machine translation feature is not available to all developers. Instead, you’ll need to apply to the early access program.

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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