Google Translate's instant camera feature gets support for 60 new languages

Yolanda Curtis
July 12, 2019

Afrikaans, Arabic, Hindi, Malay, Thai and Vietnamese are among the 60 additional languages supported, bringing the total number to 88, in a bid to help more people travelling overseas. If you select "detect language" as the source language, the Translate app will automatically detect the language and translate. The interface now has a bottom bar with three modes: Instant, Scan and Import. It will allow users to recognise the language before translating it. With the app installed on your iOS or Android device, you just point the camera lens at foreign text and it will translate the text into your language.

It's a great news for regular Google Translate users, where the camera feature is fantastically useful for translating things like menus and signs.


The updated version of the app will also automatically detect what language it's looking at, which is handy if you're traveling in a region where multiple languages are common. And on Wednesday, Google announced the service's instant camera translations are getting even better.

Yes, you can manually type in a phrase for translation - although it's laborious, you'll probably make some mistakes when dealing with unfamiliar words, and then how do you cope with Asian languages packed with non-Western characters?


Google is also introducing Neural Machine Translation within its instant camera translations. The app has been redesigned to coincide with the launch of these new features, and features some under-the-hood improvements too.

When travelling overseas, especially in a region with multiple languages, it can be challenging for people to determine the language of the text that they need to translate. The new translation models were able to reduce errors by up to 85% in some cases, and there are more offline translation packs for situations when you won't have an internet connection - albeit without the added smarts that NMT can provide. The translated text placed by the feature on the real-world were previously flickery, and the new update makes the text more stable, less flickery, and easier to understand.


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