How do I translate grammatically with Google Translate?

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Lluís Enric Mayans
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Google Translate is getting better and better. It is now able to take into account the subtleties of certain languages ​​that do not exist in English, thus making the results much better for Latin languages, such as French for example. Grammatical gender is one element that is now well managed by the service.

French and its subtleties of grammar and syntax have long been a nightmare for machine translation tools. Often referred to by English speakers, translators have a hard time accurately conveying all the richness of our language. But year after year, by dint of improvements and updates, the translations are more and more accurate and take much better account of the subtleties of French. This is particularly the case of Google Translate, which has managed to adapt well to the language of Molière, particularly with regard to grammatical gender. This article is part of a long file whose goal is to help you know how to use Google Translate properly.

How do I translate grammatically with Google Translate?

In our example, we are going to translate from English, whose nouns and adjectives do not take masculine or feminine gender, to French. When translating from English to French, Google Translate can offer two different translations for the same word or the same expression: one in the masculine and the other in the feminine, since the nuance does not exist in the source language. You will then see the message "Translations take grammatical gender into account" at the top of the translation.

Note that this does not work with all language combinations. For some of them, the functionality is incomplete (only works with single words, not for complete sentences), or even completely absent. French is one of the best supported languages ​​in this respect.

If you're using a device that supports this feature, you don't need to take any action to benefit from it. Simply type in what you want to translate and, depending on the case, you will see two translation proposals appear to provide the grammatical form you are looking for. Google displays translations in alphabetical order of their label. In French for example, the feminine form is always available at the top and the masculine form at the bottom, because the wording "feminine" which begins with the letter "f" comes before the wording "masculin", which begins with the letter "m". alphabetically speaking.

You can copy or listen to each of the two translation proposals. You can also "Enable translation tracking" to keep it in your favorites. The saved translation then keeps both results.

Compatible devices

All devices can benefit from this grammatical gender feature. However, this is only available on the web version of Google Translate. You can therefore enjoy it normally on a computer, but on a mobile, you must go through the service's website to be entitled to it: the application is deprived of this option, whether on Android or iOS.

In this case, Google Translate will rely on a "frequency" system to estimate whether there is a better chance that you are looking for a masculine or feminine wording with your query. If it does not have an index allowing it to determine which is the highest probability or if the frequency between the masculine and the feminine is equal, the tool then resumes its system of alphabetical order by wording described above and will therefore display the feminine result in French.

In the screenshots below, you can see the difference in results in the translation depending on whether we are on a mobile browser or on the mobile application. In the first case, two translations are available, one in the feminine and the other in the masculine as on computer. In the second, a single translation is offered, in the feminine only.

Find other tutorials to help you use Google Translate:
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  • How to clear the Google Translate translation history?
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  • How to translate an SMS directly with Google Translate?
  • How to use Google Translate on any Android application?
  • How to translate a conversation in real time with Google Translate?
  • How to translate a document with Google Translate?
  • How to save a translation on Google Translate?
  • How to translate a voice input with Google Translate?
  • How to translate a website with Google Translate?
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