In May of 2014 Google acquired Word Lens, leaving us wondering when exactly the tech would make its way into Google Translate. The answer to that question came in January of this year, when Word Lens real-time instant video translations arrived to the app with support for seven languages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. To little surprise, that was only the beginning.
Translate has now added support for 20 new languages, though you’ll need to download a small file (less than 2MB) for each language pack that you’d like access to. One of the best things about the instant visual translation feature is that it is designed to work totally offline, so even if you find yourself in a remote location with spotty cellular and Wi-Fi coverage, that’s no problem.
Here’s the full list of languages that have been added, in addition to the seven already mentioned above:
You can now translate to and from English and Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian. You can also do one-way translations from English to Hindi and Thai.
Curious about how the technology that does this type of advanced visual translation works? Google has released a new article to its research blog that dives in a bit deeper into the process, for those interested.
While the addition of new languages to its Word Lens feature is obviously the big news here, Google’s official blog post also mentions that the app is being updated with improvements to the voice conversation mode as well. Though Google doesn’t get into details, they say that its real-time conversation translations will now be faster, more natural and will play nicely even with slower networks.
You can expect all the aforementioned changes to hit the Android app “in the next few days”. Considering this is Google, however, we’d imagine the update will arrive to folks in various stages. What do you think of Google’s Translate features? How do you feel they compare to the competition? Let us know what you think in the comments.