Google yesterday announced an update to its Translate app which brings offline support for 59 languages to iOS and Android devices.
What’s new: Prior to this update, Translate users suffered from limited translation functionality when their device wasn’t connected to the internet. Now, with improved offline support, full phrase translation in 59 different languages becomes possible without the need for Google’s software to run server-side machine learning processes. Everything happens on the device now, even if you have an older phone.
How is this possible: It’s basically just your standard ancient magic spells mixed with some robomancy. Actually, the translation is accomplished through Google’s neural machine translation (NMT) just like it would be online. Only now the algorithms are so fine-tuned that they’re capable of running on-device without taking up much space (30-40 MB per langauge), or requiring a dedicated chip.
Try it yourself: You can download the Translate app on Android and iOS right now. Google is rolling the translation changes out incrementally, so only some users may have full support right now, but everyone is expected to have access by June 15.
Microsoft recently announced a similar update to its translation app, but it supports fewer languages.