My modest contribution to the ever-growing 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 Gmail for Java ME and 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.