Five cool new features for the Google Translate Android app

Google has updated its Google Translate Android app, and is highlighting five key new features that will enhance the user experience for people turning to their phone for a little language help.

The first is offline support, so users can access the translation functionality even without a data connection. With the cost of roaming and the sometimes infrequent availability of Wi-Fi access, offline functionality is a key addition. Users can download language packs to their phone for the languages they wish to enable offline access to.

The second is voice recognition technology that Google claims works remarkably well for almost all major languages. So, to get directions from a local in another language, the app’s conversation mode allows them to speak into your phone, and give you back a translation, either written or spoken.

The third is a handwriting tool that allows you to draw what you want translated into a blank space and receive the translation back. Useful for languages that we don’t share the same QWERTY keyboard with.

The fourth gives you an alternative to the handwriting tool in case you’re not much of a drawer. Just use the camera to take a picture of what you want translated instead of trying to type it in. Particularly helpful for trickier languages such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Now taking a picture of a restaurant menu can avoid unpleasant surprises.

And the fifth feature offers the ability to save commonly used phrases into the Translate app. So, for example, “one large beer” could be spoken aloud in the language of your choice at whichever bar in the world your travels may take you.

The Google Translate Android app is available for download now in the Google Play app store.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.

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