The free Google Translate app just got an upgrade, turning your smartphone into a real-time translator. Simply point your camera at a sign, menu or recipe written in another language, and it will translate it into English.
The new app also uses voice recognition and cloud technology to translate two sides of a conversation in different languages. It turns your phone into a translator so you do not have to rely on someone else to convey what you are trying to say. This could significantly improve the way people travel and communicate when in a foreign country.
This voice recognition feature currently translates seven different languages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. The text translations work for 90 other languages.
The technology is an expansion of the Word Lens platform that Google acquired last year. Word Lens uses a smartphone’s video camera mode to scan an environment, identify writing within it, and display it in English.