Gmail stuffs Babel fish into your inbox

20 May 2009

Chances are that most of your existing email correspondents speak in a language you already understand or, well, you wouldn’t be talking to them already. But for future reference, if you would like to have a chat in 41 different languages, just go ahead and make a new penpal without worrying about how you’re going to say ‘I enjoy stamp collecting and scuba diving’ in Estonian or Thai.

Google Labs has added a new feature to Gmail that allows the user to translate the body of their email into any of the 41 languages on offer by adding Google Translate technology into the mix.

If the person you’re corresponding with happens to be using Gmail also, then even better – you can have whole conversations while both of you are speaking your own language. In a way, it’s a bit like sticking a Babel fish in your ear à la Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

To activate this feature, head over to Google Labs and activate the message translation option.

By Marie Boran