Just a couple days ago, we brought you the news that a Google Translate update would be coming at some time in the future, but we had no idea that it would arrive this quickly.
Rolling out today for both Android and iOS, the Google Translate app is picking up a couple new tricks that will make translation faster and more seamless than ever.
First, the existing Word Lens functionality that allows you to take a picture of text and get a translation for it in 36 languages will no longer require that you take a picture of the text. Instead, it will simply carry out the translation as soon as you activate the app and point it at the relevant text. This will work without a data connection, which is great news for travelers, and at present it can handle translation of English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. More languages will be added to instant translation in the future, but until that time the rest of the supported languages will continue to require that you take a picture to carry out the translation.
As someone that has stared at a sign or menu overseas at struggled to comprehend it on more than one occasion, this is pretty mind-blowing. But the next piece of the update might be even more impressive.
For those familiar with the app, it has been able to translate live speech since 2013, but it required that you tap the mic each time that someone was ready to speak and to make sure that the appropriate language was selected. Now you simply need to select the languages that are being spoken at the outset and hit the mic and from there on the app will continue to translate the conversation back and forth while recognizing which language is being spoken at any given moment.
Google Translate has been one of those apps that I show people to really blow them away with how powerful their device is for some time now, and I think this latest update really pushes it into the realm of science fiction.
As is often the case, this is a rolling update. We haven’t seen it on our devices yet, so if you get the update we would love to hear how it works for you.