Feature development & exploration
There are around 40 different languages that are gender specific. This means that people communicate differently based on the gender of whom you are addressing (or talking about). In addition, many of these languages have a different way of speaking to people based on how familiar you are (formal vs informal):
NOTE: I did not address the plural differences also present in many of these languages:
ex: You (singular) versus you collective (as in "you guys" ).
How are you?
My friend (Jason/Jessica)
Il mio amico Jason
(Lei) Come stai?
La mia amica jessica
Google tries to adjust to this by making assumptions about gender based on names - but when unidentified - defaults to the masculine. See below for a sample of how the current design translates a birthday wish when gender is not specified.
A toggle control that allows the user to define if the conversation is directed at a male or female. The toggle command shows the default which, in this case, is a masculine setting.
The proposed changes would allow the user to toggle between male and female. This allows google to more accurately translate the conversation. In addition, I propose that we add a toggle that allows the user to change the translated copy between a formal and informal option.
The toggle buttons only show when the language might change based on gender or formal versus informal. If neither of these toggle controls come into play, they will not show. The diagram below shows a BowTie as an ICON for formal vs Informal... however, more research may need to be done to determine which icons are best suited to the toggle control. When the control is first introduced, their could be a tool tip to help users of the tool understand the functionality.