In a recent blog post from Google, it was revealed that 9 out of 10 of the 500+ million Google Translate users around the world are not from the U.S. The context of that statement comes with the announcement of a very cool Google Translate update, one that is already being called a “game changer” in smartphone tech.
You've probably used Google Translate at least once in your life. Even if you don't travel much, you've probably come across a couple of instances where you've needed a quick translate from one language to another. In my experience, Google Translate has always been my go-to for these types of situations. Although not always completely accurate, I've always appreciated the convenience of copying something and pasting it into Translate, and at the very least getting the gist of what was being said.
Regardless, whatever reason you have to use a translator, this latest update to Google Translate just made things a heck of a lot easier for translating on Android smartphones. An update to the Google Translate app has made it possible to translate any highlighted text on your phone. The feature called, “Tap to Translate”, creates a pop-up button after text has been highlighted. This text can come from just about anywhere, whether it's a website (even on browsers that are not Chrome), a text message, an email, etc. When you highlight the text, a pop-up will appear that allows you to translate on the fly. Tap to Translate works with all 103 Google Translate languages. It's as simple as that. Pretty amazing, right?
An update to Translate has also come for iOS users. Unfortunately there’s no Tap to Translate for iOS yet, but the equally important Offline Mode (which has already been available for Android users) is now available – and in significantly smaller data packages, too. Offline Mode for Google Translate is an extremely helpful tool, particularly if you're traveling and aren't sure whether you'll have an Internet connection or not. Currently, Offline Mode supports 52 languages.
The final change that comes with this update is that Word Lens now works with Chinese. Anytime you see a sign or label with Chinese on it, Word Lens uses your camera to scan a word and translate it in real time. It's a pretty amazing thing, and also quite fun to use.
Language barriers are quickly becoming a thing of the past, thanks to new technology and our smartphones. It's not perfect, and it's easy to lose context through translations. However, Google’s focus on breaking these barriers is innovative to say the least. Although the term “innovative” has become somewhat of a watered down buzzword in the industry, I truly think that this is a big step for an excellent solution to this age-old problem. This latest update to Google Translate is definitely a big plus for both and Android and iOS users, and I can't wait to see how Translate continues to improve with time.