What Language Barrier? Google App Makes International Travel Easier

Word Lens quickly translates written text for you.
Word Lens quickly translates written text for you.

Have you ever tried to communicate with someone in a foreign country and felt frustrated?

Relief is on the way in the form of two Google Translate upgrades rolling out this week.

The Google Translate app now offers instant gratification in the form of automatic language detection and Word Lens. You can now get translation in real time.

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The app was already translating text-to-text between 80 languages. But it was not automatic.

Want to ask that local guy on the streets of Rome which restaurants are best? No problem. Just use automatic language detection in conversation mode. Select the two languages being spoken — in this case, English and Italian. Then press the microphone and begin talking. Google Translate will automatically recognize the two languages being spoken and translate them in real-time so that you can both understand each other.

Google is also rolling out Word Lens, which instantaneously translates text.

The app already enabled users to take photos to translate text into 36 different languages. But now the translation is instantaneous, though not yet in as many languages. And you don’t need an Internet connection.

Walking down a street in Japan and wondering what the heck that sign says? Just hold up your phone so the sign is visible on your screen and Word Lens immediately shows the translation overlaid on your screen. The instant translation currently works from English to and from French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. And Google is working to add more languages to Word Lens, according to its blog.

The new features are rolling out in the next few days for iOS and Android and it’s the first time camera translations and conversation mode is available for iOS users.