Google Translate app offers instant translation of speech and street signs


On Wednesday an update was released to the Google Translate app for both iOS and Android.

The update includes a new conversation mode which lets users have more seamless, real time conversations with people in other languages.

This new feature will initially work when translating Spanish, French, German, Russian, Italian and Portuguese to English and vice versa, and is available in addition to the Google Translate app being able to offer written translation of 90 languages.

And if that wasn’t impressive enough, the new app can now also translate street signs by using the camera on your smartphone.

Using the apps Word Lens tool, users can point their camera at a piece of text or a road sign and immediately see the translated version of the text appear on their screen. The best thing is that this feature will still work even if you are not connected to the Internet.

Of course, Android users have been able to use a real time conversation mode on the Goolge Translate app since 2013. However, Google now says that the updated real time feature will help users to have a more natural conversation when speaking to someone in a foreign language.

The Google Translate App is available on Android and iOS.

What do you think of the new features?

Let us know in the comments section below.



  1. Google translate is still unable to translate from Thai to English and make any sense

  2. Douglas Meyer on

    I feel exactly as Toany. The translation of Thai to English or English to Thai on Google Translate is abysmal.

  3. Google translate for a few days did read Thai using the camera. The handwriting recognition for Thai works. The voice recognition also works reasonably well but I have to select the input language. The application needs internet access for the Thai features. It is a work in progress, but a tantalizing view of what is possible.
    When running the app on the Ipad, selecting Thai as the input language, it displays the microphone and hand writing icon if you are online. When the camera part is active online, it displays the camera as well.
    Of course the hardest part is selecting the translation that makes sense in the context, without the app knowing the context.