As was previously rumoured, Google has updated its Translate app on Android and iOS with the ability to provide real-time translations of conversations, which is sure to be a boon to frequent travellers.
All you do is tap the mic, say your piece, and tap the mic icon again when you’re done – the app will then automatically recognise which two languages are being employed in the conversation. From then on, you don’t need to do any more tapping of the icon – the conversation can proceed fluidly without any further need for user intervention.
As Barak Turovsky, Product Lead, Google Translate, noted in a blog post: “Asking for directions to the Rive Gauche, ordering bacalhau in Lisbon, or chatting with your grandmother in her native Spanish just got a lot faster.”
A real-time conversation mode has been in the Android version of the Translate app for some time, but what Google has implemented here is far slicker. This is completely new for iOS, though, as is another fresh feature, namely instant translation with Word Lens.
This means that you can now simply point your camera at a foreign phrase (on a sign, menu or whatever) and get an instant translation of that text overlaid on your phone’s display.
This instant translation only works with a limited number of languages at the moment, though, namely with English to and from French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. More languages will be added as time progresses.
Google’s work on real-time translation comes following Microsoft unveiling Skype Translator Preview, its own real-time translation feature, at the end of last year.