Thursday, May 12, 2016

Google Translate Has Been Much Improved

[Courtesy of NYT]

Need a translation app for your vacation but don’t want to get slammed with a big data bill? New updates to Google Translate, including the addition of another major language (just in time for my trip to the Philipines) and a pop-up translation feature, can help.

Google said today that its translation app — which can translate in a number of ways including hearing someone speak or by reading what they write — can now be used in offline mode with no data or Wi-Fi connection on both iOS and Android (it previously wasn’t available on iOS), potentially eliminating the high price of data for travelers with iPhones.
Some 52 languages, including French, German, Russian and, most recently, Filipino, can be translated offline. Additionally, the app now offers both simplified and traditional Chinese through its Word Lens feature: Users can hold their smartphone camera over a word, sign, menu or photo in 29 languages and instantly see a translation. This is the latest addition to a list that includes Arabic, Italian, Thai and Spanish. 

Google said the updates stem from its research in India and Indonesia, where people are just beginning to come online through smartphones. In particular, another new feature called Tap to Translate was created after Google learned that people in those regions spend a great deal of time in chat apps, copying and pasting text into Google Translate. Tap to Translate allows users to be in, say, a chat app, and with the tap of a button see a translation pop up right within that app — without having to switch out of the app and into Google Translate. Sorry, iOS users, that one’s just for Android.

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