Good news, globetrotters! Google has updated its Google Translate app for both Android and iOS to make life aboard a little easier in term of language. The updated app now gives you the power to instantly translate text using your camera, making it easier for you when navigating street signs in a foreign land, or ordering from menu written in unfamiliar languages. Yep. Soon you will be seeing people (mainly tourists, we suppose) taking pictures of street signs and menus. Not sure if the owner of the restaurants will be amused by the later or not, but that’s another thing to deal with in respect to cultural differences, which obviously the app won’t be able to help. Using camera mode to take an image of text and get a translation isn’t new, but this latest update lets you do it instantly and as we have tested a while ago, it works pretty well.

All you have to do is to fire up the app, point the camera at whatever sign or text you want to translate and viola! text translated, overlaid on your screen. And the most amazing part is, it will do so even if you are viewing the sign at a perspective and also, it will work even without Internet or data connection. Currently, this feature only works for 36 languages, but Google said they are working on more languages. With this update, real-time conversation translation mode gets a boost in speed. All you have to do is to tap on the mic and start speaking in the selected language. The beauty is, you only need to tap the mic for the initial phase, after which two person speaking the selected languages can proceed to make a conversation (catch the demo video below).

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Pretty cool, but as always, it is not 100 percent accurate and at times, the translated speeches can be pretty hilarious, but the general meaning is there. Go on and check it out. Who knows? It may one day save you from making the wrong turn the next time you backpack around Europe.

Published by Mike chua

Avid tech enthusiast, gadget lover, marketing critic and most importantly, love to reason and talk.