Google Translate turned 10 a couple of weeks ago, and revealed some really interesting facts about the service. The translation service has added to its app two interesting updates and one cool new feature — Tap to Translate — which the company revealed on its blog.
The new feature, Tap to Translate, aims to provide on-demand translations without having to copy text, fire the app up, paste the text and look up the translation. With Tap to Translate, users can simply select and copy the text that needs translating. Once this has been done, the Google Translate app icon appears seemingly out of nowhere, which when tapped opens up a little pop-up, from where users can automatically look up translations.
Users can access this feature from anywhere on their phones [Finally, there's an easy way to go back to English when your niece changes the default language on your phone to Afrikaans]. The new feature allows translations between all 103 languages Translate supports, and is compatible with any phone running Android 4.2 Jellybean or newer.
Dealing with the updates to existing features, the biggest one involves shrinking things down to a more manageable size. Translate also offers offline translations, which require that users download translation packs. If memory serves us right, the old packs — at least the one for Hindi — was 224 MB. With the update, Google has managed to shrink all the available the language packs down to 25MB and added a Filipino language pack, too, taking the number of offline languages to 52.
Finally, the one feature that we wish would start supporting Indian languages, Word Lens, which uses the device camera to read words in other languages and provides translations has added Simplified Chinese to its list of supported languages, and like the rest of the Word Lens languages, the Chinese translations happen even if you no data connectivity.