Foreign text messages can be translated into English using online translators such as Translate.Google.co.uk, Translate.Reference.com and FreeTranslation.com. All three sites have translating options for over 35 languages, ranging from Spanish, French, German and other European languages to Asian and Indian languages such as Punjabi, Urdu, Vietnamese and Thai. For easy mobile access, there is a Google Translate and Translate Reference app that gives users full access to these languages for free.
Google Translate and Free Translation do not have character limits on their desktop or mobile sites. However, Translate Reference does have a character limit of 300 characters, including individual letters, punctuation and spaces, on the desktop and mobile site.
Online translators are useful when translating documents or text messages, but it is important to be aware that these translators are computer programs and therefore have no understanding of context. Moreover, there are often many different English meanings for a given word in another language, and the translators typically use the most common. This may cause the sender's original message to lose its intended meaning when translated. In addition, idioms and slang expressions are often translated into the literal rather than the intended meaning, which may differ dramatically in English.