Never ask for directions again

It’s a well-known stereotype that men don’t like asking for directions. Well, this new update for Google Translate may mean fellas never have to ask for directions again, even in a foreign country.

Not only does Google Translate all but eliminate the need to speak a foreign language (although it is still recommended that you know the basics), it can now translate signs for you, too.

The major software update to the instant camera translation feature within the Google Translate app means you can point your phone at a sign and Google will translate up to 38 languages for you.

Simply select the ‘Detect language’ option, point your smartphone camera towards the foreign text and Google will instantly translate it for you.

Google Translate product manager Xinxing Gu says it’s one of his favourite features and is “especially helpful when you’re traveling abroad as it works even when you’re not connected to wifi or using cellular data”.

Users can also translate between non-English language pairs, such as Marathi to Thai or Japanese to Korean or any pair of up to 103 languages.

“And most of the languages can be downloaded onto your device, so that you can use the feature without an internet connection,” says Mr Gu.

Features of the app include:

  • Translate between 103 languages by typing
  • Tap to Translate: Copy text in any app and your translation pops up
  • Offline: Translate 59 languages when you have no Internet
  • Instant camera translation: Use your camera to translate text instantly in 38 languages
  • Camera Mode: Take pictures of text for higher-quality translations in 37 languages
  • Conversation Mode: Two-way instant speech translations in 32 languages
  • Handwriting: Draw characters instead of using the keyboard in 93 languages
  • Phrasebook: Star and save translations for future reference in any language


Have you used Google Translate on your travels? Does it work as advertised?

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Related articles:
Translation? There’s an app for that!
Google’s in-ear translator
Don’t travel without this translation app

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Publisher of YourLifeChoices – Australia's most-trusted and longest-running retirement website. A trusted voice on Australia's retirement landscape, including retirement income and planning, government entitlements, lifestyle and news and information relevant to Australians over 50. Leon has worked in publishing for more than 25 years and is also a travel writer and editor, graphic designer and photographer.

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