Google Translate to add native Central American languages

Google’s fast-growing online translation service will now be able to translate text into and out of Maya and Nahuatl, which are Central American languages that pre-date Spanish.

According to the Economic Times, “Nahuatl is mostly spoken in southern Mexico and northern Central America, while Maya is spoken across Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Guatemala and Belize.” The newspaper also says that the addition of the two languages will boost Google Translate’s user base, which could lead to improvements in search engine optimization (SEO).

Miguel de Alva, Google’s director of marketing technology in Mexico, told Agence France-Presse that “searches in these two pre-Columbian languages and mobile satellite-linked connections to the internet are part of Google’s growth strategy,” adding that speakers of both languages are generally fluent in Spanish as well.

Experts say that Google Translate is quickly becoming one of the search giant’s most popular services, alongside its core search engine and Google News. While machine translation rarely results in flawless prose, Google Translate’s broad language base and easy interface make for serviceable renderings into and out of other tongues.

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