Generally speaking, the hardest part of travelling in any foreign country can be navigating the local language. If you’ve ever caught yourself using the incorrect words or embarrassing yourself with an inappropriate term causing offence to locals, Google will now be able to help.
In the past when faced with a situation of not understanding a conversation in a foreign country many would be inclined to think “Damn, I’m stuck, I’ll quickly use data roaming to translate a few phrases to help me out.” This is fine, however the usage of data (even small amounts) whilst roaming can be very costly and often results in bill-shock upon returning home. This is why Google’s new update on Android and iOS may just transform your mobile device into a personal translator.
If you didn’t already know, the Google Translate app lets you use your camera to snap a photo of any text and get a translation in over 35 languages. The text could be a simple road sign or a full A4 page of writing, if you don’t believe me, give it a shot now on your mobile. The only downside previously was that you needed to be connected to the Internet in order for the app to translate the text.
To make things even more beneficial to its users, Google ramped up its service as of January 2015 with a new update. They have taken it to the next level and you can now instantly translate text by simply pointing your camera at the text. This has helped many a traveller with everything from easily navigating road signs in the French country-side, to figuring out what to order from a Russian menu. But, the best thing about this instant translation service is that you no longer need to be connected to the Internet for it to work.
The new update currently works when translating to and from English into French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
If doing all this without being connected to the Internet wasn’t easy enough, then prepare yourselves for the next part of the update. As you may know, when talking in a foreign language the exchange of words can become really slow between two people. Which is why you may have used the real-time conversation mode on Android, which has been available since 2013. But, the new update now speeds up the conversation to make it sound more natural when playing it back.
To see your own personal demonstration, pull out your phone, download and open up the Google Translate app and then tap the mic button to start speaking in a chosen language. When finished, tap the mic again and Google Translate will automatically determine which language was spoken and translate into your pre-determined other language. Engaging this feature during a conversation allows it to continue flowing, because you wont need to tap the mic again as the app will update your conversation as you speak.
Why have Google done this you may ask, quite simply because it will allow you to have a more fluid face-to-face conversations with people speaking other languages.
We can see that the update from Microsoft’s Skype app in Windows 8.1 released in December 2015 almost allowed for real-time translations within a conversation, which probably makes this Google’s response to Microsoft.
So if you haven’t already updated your Google Translate app or you don’t even have the app installed on your mobile, ensure you do so before your next trip abroad to a non-English speaking nation. You never know, the app may just get you to your hotel that much faster, or potentially save you from a hefty data roaming charge at the end of your next holiday.