The Google Translate app is immeasurably useful for any traveller. I’ve had entire conversations with other people through the app, typing sentences and passing my phone back and forth between us when they didn’t know English and I didn’t know Spanish. But the app can do much more than simply typing and translating. One of its coolest features (and arguably the most sci-fi-esque) is instant camera translation. With this feature, you can simply point your camera lens at foreign text, and it’ll automatically translate on your screen. This is super handy when it comes to trying to read things like menus and signs written in a different language.
Google has just made some upgrades to the Google Translate app, including enhancements to the instant camera translation feature:
The instant camera translation feature now supports 88 languages, with new additions including Vietnamese, Thai, Hindi, Malay and Arabic. You can also now translate into any of the 100+ languages supported on Google Translate, as opposed to only being able to translate between English.
Automatic language detection
The instant camera translation feature can now automatically detect the source language, making it far more simple when travelling through regions with multiple languages.
Neural Machine Translation (NMT)
Neural Machine Translation (NMT) is now built into instant camera translations, producing more accurate and natural translations. It supposedly reduces errors by 55-85 percent in certain language pairs.
A new look
The Google Translate instant camera translation feature has a cleaner, more intuitive look now, with all three camera translation features located on the bottom of the app. ‘Instant’ translates foreign text when you point your camera at it; ‘scan’ allows you to take a photo and highlight the text you want translated; and ‘import’ can translate text from photos on your phone’s camera roll.