Google‘s Translate app has been updated for both iOS and Android and it’s better than ever. First off, Word Lens — which lets you use your camera to snap a photo of text (like signs in a foreign country) and get a translation in 36 languages — is now available directly within the app. However, going a step further, Word Lens can now translate text instantly — simply point your camera at a sign or text and you’ll see the translated text almost instantly overlaid on your screen, whether you have an Internet or data connection or not. Currently, the “instant” translation feature is limited to English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, but Google is currently working to expand to additional languages.
More importantly than Word Lens, however, may be the ability to have a conversation across languages with the app. Now, when talking to someone in an unfamiliar language, users can simply tap their mic, speak, and then tap the mic again and the app will automatically recognize which of the two languages are being spoken, letting you have a more fluid conversation. Then, for the rest of the conversation, you won’t need to tap the mic again — it’ll simply be ready to continue translating as you need it.
Check out the brief demonstration above and look for the app’s new features to roll out in the next few days. Google Translate can be downloaded now, free of charge, for both iOS and Android via iTunes and Google Play, respectively.