Google Translate is indispensable for globe trotters. And it just got better, speedier and more powerful. The Google Translate App, available for both Android and iOS devices, has now received a makeover with introduction of a wide range of features that are designed to make understanding and conversing in foreign tongues way more easier than before.

Word Lens is one such feature- it allows you to take a picture of text written in some language, and translate it into 36 languages. You never have to gesticulate wildly while asking for directions somewhere, anymore. The update is instant text translation, with the new text overlaid on your phone’s screen.

Internet connection for the overlay isn’t needed. Your camera phone needs to be activated inside the app, though. Currently, this only works with English to and from French, Portuguese, Russian German, Italian and Spanish.

Another feature that is pretty neat, though not as powerful as Skype’s real time translation service, is the real-time voice translation,. This feature will act as an interface between two people speaking different languages- your instant translator, on your palm.

The app has an in-mic; you start talking, your language is recognized, tap the mic again, now the people taking part in the conversation can contribute to it. It works by pulling in text-based translations of the conversation in real-time. Voice Translate already has been on the app for Android for quite some time and Google says it will be “faster and more natural” on Android. Now it will be a fixture on iOS, too.

Barak Turovsky, Product Lead of Google Translate said:

Today’s updates take us one step closer to turning your phone into a universal translator and to a world where language is no longer a barrier to discovering information or connecting with each other.


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