As with most services, Google has a long history of monopolizing the translation application market. However, after Apple launches its Apple Translate app with iOS 14, can the competing giant give Google Translate a run for its money? In this Google Translate vs Apple Translate article, find out where the two translation apps diverge.
User interface (UI)
Google Translate and Apple Translate avoid icon clutter and mental burden, aiming for an immediately readable and accessible design. However, the Apple Translate app has a more accentuated space design. Its two buttons, each representing one side of the language translation, immediately indicate which languages are selected. In contrast, Google Translate has no buttons and has a menu instead. This is by no means a big deal, but something for improvement.
When it comes to usability, Google beats Apple because it’s easier to copy and paste the text for translation. This is an iOS UI artifact, where you have to keep holding and selecting text. Again, this isn’t a major drawback, but Android users may need a while to recover.
Overall, Apple Translate is more pleasing to the eye, while Google Translate is overly utilitarian, as if aesthetic design shouldn’t even be part of the design equation.
Accuracy of the translation
You may have noticed that every time you use Chrome’s page translation feature, it gives less than ideal results if the sentences are not straightforward. The same is true for both apps. It seems that machine learning hates complex and compound sentences.
Therefore, if you use simple sentences with a low word count, Google Translate and Apple Translate will also work well. Of course, the accuracy of the translation may differ from language to language, but it can be assumed that they both have access to the same grammar rules and vocabularies.
Either way, it is impossible to notice a difference between the two when it comes to the accuracy of the translation.
Unfortunately for Apple Translate, this category falls firmly into Google’s camp. Apple only supports 11 languages as of the last official update on September 16, 2020. These 11 languages supported by Apple Translate are Spanish, Italian, German, English, French , Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese.
In contrast, Google Translate supports over 100 languages, which for all intents and purposes represents most of the populations on the planet. However, out of those 100+, on-the-fly bilingual translation is only available for 43 languages, which is still four times higher than what Apple Translate offers.
Regarding camera-assisted translation – image to text – Google Translate still limits it to 37 languages. Even lower, 32 are supported for audio translation. Ultimately, given that Apple Translate isn’t even a year old, such a disparity in language support is to be expected.
Google Translate offers six ways to translate languages:
- Viewing the dictionary offline without Internet access
- Handwriting with a stylus, if supported by your smartphone
- Using the camera: either by pointing the camera or by capturing the text in the view
Of these features, Apple Translate only supports three: typing, pronunciation, and offline (built-in) dictionary. However, the two apps can be linked to their respective ecosystems: Assistant for Google Translate and Siri for Apple Translate. Voice translation for both is efficient.
Finally, both apps have a nifty phrasebook feature, where the most commonly translated phrases can be saved for later use.
Fortunately, both apps are free from ads or other forms of monetization. You can simply download them for free from their respective stores. You can find Google Translate here for android and here for Apple iPhones.
With Google Translate already available in Apple’s App Store, it doesn’t make much sense to prioritize Apple Translate. The native Apple app still lacks many features and languages.
Still, if the supported ones are more than enough for your needs, Apple Translate does an equally solid translation job. On the other hand, if you want to go beyond simple apps and use a dedicated translation device, look no further than the Langogo Summit Language Translator.
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