To make foreign travel easy by erasing the language barrier, Google has announced some updates for it's translation app that will make communication in a foreign language a lot easier.
In an official Google blog post, the company said the updates will be rolled out to all users over the next few days and will be applicable on Android and iOS smartphones. Currently, the app allows users to take a snap of a text in any language and get a translation in 36 different languages. However, with the new update, "snapping" will not be required. All a user needs to do is point the camera in the direction of the text and it will automatically get translated into the language of their choice.
At present, this update translates text in English from and to French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Officials have confirmed that they're working on adding more languages to the list. What's really interesting is the fact that these translations can be done even without an internet connection.
Another feature of the update is that it allows a conversation using the translation app. The current version of the app had included a real-time conversation mode on Android since 2013. However, the new update aims at making this process simpler and faster.
"Starting today, simply tap the mic to start speaking in a selected language, then tap the mic again, and the Google Translate app will automatically recognize which of the two languages are being spoken, letting you have a more fluid conversation," Google Translate Product Lead Barak Turovsky said in the blog post. "For the rest of the conversation, you won't need to tap the mic again—it'll be ready as you need it."
What's most exciting about these new updates is that some of the features will be available on the iOS platform for the first time.
Wondering if the updates really work? Check out this video showing The Guardian's Adam Gabbatt put the app's translation skills to test in New York City.
According to the statistics, more than 500 million people use Google Translate every month, which includes over 1 billion translations conducted on the application each day. Microsoft is also trying to strengthen its hold on the language translation market. Earlier last month, the tech giant released a beta version of Skype, which translates speech instantly to both text and spoken translations.
"Skype brings people together to make progress on what matters to them," Microsoft's Gurdeep Pall said in a blog post. "Skype Translator will open up endless possibilities for people around the world to connect, communicate and collaborate; people will no longer be hindered by geography and language."