imTranslator is a free website that lets you use powerful interpretation software, and will even speak for you in other languages.
With support for more than fifty different languages, tons of TTS (Text To Speech) options, and downloadable widgets and plug-ins imTranslator is one of the best ways to quickly and easily handle your everyday translation and interpretation needs.
Years ago, I remember visiting a site called Babelfish that would translate my text into other languages like Spanish, French and Italian and allow me to copy and paste the results into whatever window or document I needed.
Electronic translation has a come a long way since then and imTranslator is one of the newest and best options on the net. Even better than that, it’s totally free!
imTranslator supports a myriad of different languages including (but not limited to) such un-common ones as Icelandic, Vietnamese, and Yiddish. It even has support for both traditional and simple Chinese! Of course, it also has support for the more common ones like English, French and Italian. It will translate anything you input from any of the fifty plus languages it supports into your choice of Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, or English speech. If you have a block of text you want to translate and don’t know what the language is, imTranslator will even detect the language for you and if it is supported and recognized, will translate it automatically.
Additionally, imTranslator uses a very sophisticated bit of code to not only recognize and translate text but to actually interpret the meaning of the text and attempt to put it into the desired language’s idiom. This means that, unlike some other translation programs or pages, even colloquialisms (slang or local sayings) can be translated with a fair degree of success at conveying the original idea, and not just the literal word for word replacement. That’s one of the biggest things that has set computer translation apart from real human interpretation in the past, so it’s nice to see the 21st century finally arriving.
Of course, just translating and interpreting language would be fairly impressive all by itself, but imTranslator takes it to the next level by actually running a pretty decent Text To Speech (TTS) engine to actually speak the results of your translation request. For translation to English, there is a male and female voice option, but the other languages are limited to one gender. This will probably change in the future, as imTranslator promises to expand the available voices. Options for the TTS engine also include the ability to choose one of seven different speeds for the TTS engine to speak at. Some languages require a slower or faster voice to sound correct or make sense to the native ear and imTranslator evidently knows this and offers the speed options to compensate. They have plans to automatically detect the right speeds per language or meaning in the future but for now, allowing the user to choose the speed is a nice workaround for that issue. The TTS engine sounds pretty darn good, if not 100% life-like just yet, and having this option available means that you never have to feel lost again in a room of people speaking a language you don’t know.
At the very least, if you have your laptop with you, you can make yourself understood by typing in your words and having the computer speak them. Business meetings come to mind as the best and most obvious use for this but there are tons of other situations where it can be useful, both personal and professional.
Another very handy feature of imTranslator’s free service is that you can actually get code to embed a given black of TTS translation on a website. That means you can have your page greet visitors in their own language, or read instructions to them. Additionally, imTranslator offers free widgets you can add to your website to allow others to easily translate anything they type in to the widget. There are also browser extensions or plug-ins for Internet Explorer and Firefox (Chrome coming soon) and an online dictionary if you’d rather do some parts of the translation yourself or just want to double-check something.
All in all, imTranslator offers a fairly comprehensive solution for your translation needs at a price of zero. This means that decent translation isn’t just the sole province of live interpreters anymore. You’ve got one right there in your home computer or laptop. There are plans in the works for mobile applications but the developers state that they want to be sure they have done everything possible to make the core service on the internet as great as possible before expanding to new platforms. Personally, I have to admire that dedication to quality rather than quantity.
Until next time, my friends.
Visit imTranslator here.