Google will roll out during the next few days the latest version of Google Translate, running on its Android and Apple's iOS operating systems. Two key features allow users to instantly translate someone speaking in a different language, as well as convert words on street signs and other images into their native language.
Integration into Word Lens enables the user to automatically translate written text on street signs or menus and other printed items into their native language. The new Google Translate app also adds improved real-time conversation translation.
In May 2014, Google acquired Quest Visual, which makes Word Lens. The new feature allows users to tap the camera button in Google Translate, point the phone at the foreign-language text, and a translation appears on the screen, even if the user doesn't have an Internet access or a data connection. This will translate from English to and from French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Google expects to release more languages coming soon.
The translator tool has been available, but Google's goal in the latest version of the app is to simplify and enhance the features, so they work more quickly and fluidly without any lag time.
Barak Turovsky, product lead for Google Translate, explains in a blog post that the new version improves functions by automatically recognizing the language being spoken. This eliminates having to press the button required to interrupt a conversation in previous versions.