In the 2016 Google Founder’s Letter, CEO Sundar Pichai cited Google’s long-term investment in machine learning and AI. “It’s what allows you to use your voice to search for information,” he explained, “to translate the web from one language to another, to filter the spam from your inbox, to search for ‘hugs’ in your photos and actually pull up pictures of people hugging … to solve many of the problems we encounter in daily life. It’s what has allowed us to build products that get better over time, making them increasingly useful and helpful.”
Beyond that, the translation API is straightforward. Supply the source and target language codes, as many source strings as you wish, your API key, and optionally specify the output format. Options include HTML or plain text, pretty printing (using indentations and line breaks), and supplying a callback function.