Travelers who often find themselves unable to communicate with locals in other countries should be happy to hear that Google has released a major Google Translate update for iPhone and Android that brings several interesting new features.
For starters, Google Translate will be able to instantly translate any text, such as street signs or restaurant menus, with help of the camera. People just have to use the phone’s camera while in the Google Translate app, and the Word Lens feature will do the automatic translation, though only a handful of languages will be supported at first.
Even more interestingly, the app will now let users who don’t speak the same language engage in real-time conversations easier than before.
“Simply tap the mic to start speaking in a selected language, then tap the mic again, and the Google Translate app will automatically recognize which of the two languages are being spoken, letting you have a more fluid conversation,” Google wrote. “For the rest of the conversation, you won’t need to tap the mic again—it’ll be ready as you need it. Asking for directions to the Rive Gauche, ordering bacalhau in Lisbon, or chatting with your grandmother in her native Spanish just got a lot faster.”
Animations showing these important two new additions to Google Translate for Android follow below.