Google updates Translate app, adding 20 languages to visual translation

ByGoogle has improved its Translate app, specifically the visual translation side of the software – translating printed text – with support for many more languages being added.

This feature lets the user point their smartphone camera at a sign, menu or other written text in a foreign language, and automatically deciphers that and presents the text in your own language on the handset’s display, in real-time.

Previously, seven languages were supported by Translate – namely English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian – but now 20 more have been added, for a far more expansive total of 27 languages.

Google notes that the new languages supported include translation to and from English and Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian.

For each language you wish to use, you'll need to download a small language pack of around 2MB in size – not too painful a process.

The new version of the Google Translate app is rolling out over the next couple of days on iOS and Android, and it also improves real-time voice translations, making them a lot "faster and smoother", the company claims.

Real-time voice translation takes in what you say and automatically translates for the foreign listener, allowing you to carry out a conversation when you don't speak the language. This app is rapidly becoming an indispensable tool for smartphone toting travellers.