Google rolls out updates to their apps and services on a regular basis, sometimes with great success and sometimes to cries of anguish from users. A new update that is rolling out for Google Translate on Android and iOS devices should fall firmly in the former category as Google is moving to make translation a much easier process, although they are not quite to the level of a universal translator.
The primary new feature that Google is rolling out is a new function called Tap to Translate on Android devices. As their video explains, the team behind Tap to Translate wanted to move users away from having to switch between an app they are using and the Google Translate app. That was creating a lot of tapping and moving around that made the whole translation process a bit cumbersome. Now, Google Translate services will be available to any app without leaving the app via a chat head type interface.
The new Tap to Translate feature will work with all 103 languages available through Google Translate and will work on Android devices running at least Android 4.2 Jellybean as well as being available when offline.
To make this feature even more effective, Google also worked on revising the Offline Mode. This is where iOS users will benefit as this capability now comes to their platform. For all users though, Google realized the language packages needed to be smaller, so they have been shrunk down to only 25 MB each, which is about 90 percent smaller than they were. Google also added a new Filipino language pack to the library, bringing the number of offline language choices up to 52.
The final improvement rolling out with this update is the ability to translate Chinese using the Word Lens function. Word Lens is the tool that uses a smartphone’s camera to view an object with a foreign language, like a sign or a menu, and instantly translate it visually. Google added support for both Simplified and Traditional Chinese making it the 29th language available through Word Lens.
The update for Google Translate will be rolling out over the next few days, so be on the lookout for it. If you do not have Google Translate already and want to check it out, use the Play Store download link below.