The Google Translate app now has the ability to translate speech in real time and also signs at the click of a button on your Smartphone. The update has began rolling out to both iOS and Android users from Jan 14th. The app is very simple to use; tap the mic to enter the voice translation mode. Then simply tap the mic again and the app will automatically recognise which language is being spoken by both members of the conversation.

Awesome use of speech recognition tech! As soon as the two languages have been recognised, the app will be ready to translate speech, at this point the user does not need to press the mic button again.

As well as the speech translation part of the app, Google has also updated the app’s Word Lens tool. The Word Lens tool allows people use camera mode to take an image of text and then receive a translation in unto 36 languages. The update on the app now allows the user to see the translated image overlaid on top of the screen using augmented reality. The really cool thing about this is tool, is that the app will work even if there is no data connection available.

This instant translation currently works for translation from English to and from French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Google have also said that they are working to expand the app to include more languages.

Barak Turovsky, product lead for Google Translate said, ’More than 500 million people use Google Translate every month, making more than 1 billion translations a day to more easily communicate and access information across languages…Today’s updates take us one step closer to turning your phone into a universal translator and to a world where language is no longer a barrier to discovering information or connecting with each other.’

Key Features Include:

  • Word Lens uses augmented reality to translate text, such as road signs and newspapers by pointing a Smartphone’s camera towards it.
  • Supported languages include French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
  • Available on iOS, Android and Google Glass.
  • Word Lens automatically translates the text and overlays it on the same image on the phone’s display using augmented reality and as part of the latest app update, this feature now works without a data connection. 

There you have it. A simple and easy to use UI combined with powerful translation features and augmented reality. Well done Google, well done indeed.

[Image via lanacion]