My modest contribution to the ever-growing href="http://android-developers.blogspot.com/2008/10/android-market-now-available-for-users.html">Android
Market
is
Translate, an application that uses Google’s back-end to translate
over 150 language pairs. I wrote it pretty quickly, just as a proof
of concept and also to see how it feels to use the “real” (public)
SDK, as opposed to the internal builds that I’ve been using these past
two years.

Considering the simple scope of this application, slapping a simple UI
on top of some HTTP exchanges with the Google Translate API was fairly
trivial. Translate was downloaded more than 10,000 times so far and
the comments are very positive (and sometimes downright hilarious).

The most surprising part to me is how few users seem to realize that
Translate actually uses Google Services to do its job, and then it
occurred to me that it’s one of the first times where the code that I
write actually gets used by non-technical people (with the exception
of href="http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/11/gmail-mobile-client-is-live.html">Gmail
for Java ME
and href="http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2008/10/google-on-android-gmail-and-contacts.html">Gmail
for Android,
which also
taught me a lot about our audience).

Before I uploaded the application to Android Market, I also decided to
make it easy for users to reach me, so not only did I leave my email
address in clear text, but I made it possible to send me an email
pretty much with just one button. I thought it was a bit risky since
I could find myself flooded with emails, but I
decided that Gmail would make it easy for me to filter out such emails
anyway.

I have received over fifty emails so far, and most of them are to say
how much they like the application and are also asking for additional
features, such as:

  • More languages.
  • Make it possible to send the translation by email or SMS.
  • Allow the history to be cleared.
  • Hook it up to other applications so that users can, for example,
    translate emails they receive.

I’ll be addressing most of these requests in the next version, but in
the meantime, I’m learning a lot from this little social experiment.
Oh, and if you are curious or you wish to contribute to this
application (and a bunch of others), you can
find its source on Google Code.