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Is Google Translate Finally Giving Us Something That Works?

If you’ve ever dreamed of being able to travel the world without worrying about language barriers (I know I have), Google Translate might have just the thing you need.

Real-time text translation is not new: Word Lens, an app launched in 2010, was already doing it before Google purchased them last year. Yesterday, Android Authority reported that Word Lens would be rolled into the latest Google Translate update. The app is now not only free, but available offline. Here’s how it works:

From within the Google Translate app, tap on the camera button and scan the text you want translated. Within seconds, the text appears in the language you prefer — complete with the original colour scheme. This currently works only for French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, though Google is working on making more languages available.

This update was announced just a couple of days after a real-time voice translation function was revealed. Like the text translation, users click on a microphone button from within the app and speak into their phones. The app will detect the original language automatically, translating it and then speaking it aloud in the listener’s language.

We’ve all seen — and tried, without success — to use Google Translate at one point or another. While it does work for basic words and phrases, longer text often gets misinterpreted (as is often the case with languages). So I’m hoping that the real-time text and voice translators will be a step up from what we have now.

Or at least good enough for me to ask for directions without sounding like I’m completely clueless.

 

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