So let’s say you get this email written in Spanish. You don’t know if it’s something important, but you’re pretty sure it’s not spam either. You can just archive the email and forget about it forever, but it’s bugging you to no end and it won’t let you sleep at night until you figure out what the heck is inside that darn email. What do you do in this situation?
Now usually, we’d pick up an English-Spanish dictionary or maybe just shoot off another email to the sender asking for a translation. Now asking your friend for a translation isn’t too recommended, especially if your friend knows very little English. I can just imagine a series of emails going back and forth between you and your friend, in different permutations of “What on earth did you just say?” in different languages, each subsequent email’s language getting more colorful with every reply. Not a pretty scenario, if you ask me.
Another, easier way, would be to fire up one of the various translation websites on the net (including, of course, Google Translate), paste the whole email there, and hit the ‘translate’ button. I’m sure this is what 80% of you guys would do. The resulting translation would not be perfect; in fact it’ll sound a little funny at one point or another, but it’s readable and you’d get the gist of your friend’s (non-spammy) email. So, yeah, Google Translate or [insert your favorite translation website here] would be the best option. Now if there was a way to translate those emails so that you’d never have to leave Gmail.
Guess what, Gmail Labs now has that exact feature! “Message Translation” is one of the really exciting things that have come out of Gmail Labs as of late. It lets you translate the emails you received into English (or whatever your native language is). It doesn’t let you translate your outgoing messages, though. And of course parts of the emails will sound funny.
Now to enable this exciting new Labs feature, just click on this link, scroll down and look for Message Translate. When you receive an email in a language other than your own, Gmail will help you translate it into a language you can understand. In one click.