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Google Translate instant camera translations get a massive boost

Google Translate's camera functionality is getting some cool additions, including 60 new languages and automatic language detection.

Published onJuly 10, 2019

Instant camera translation in Google Translate.

Google acquired Word Lens years ago, giving Google Translate the nifty ability to translate words with the aid of a smartphone camera. It’s a rather practical feature, but it’s getting even better with a series of new additions.

For one, instant camera translation now supports over 60 more languages, allowing you to translate from 88 languages into over 100 tongues. Some of the prominent additions include Arabic, Hindi, Malay, Thai, and Vietnamese.

Google Translate’s instant camera translation also offers automatic language detection now. Previously, users had to manually enter the source language being scanned. This addition could be ideal for people traveling in regions with many languages, where you can’t always be sure of the language on a menu or road sign.

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The Google Translate Play Store page.

Google has also focused on the feature’s accuracy, now using previously disclosed neural machine translation (NMT) tech to reduce translation errors by between 55 and 85 percent for some language pairs. The feature — which also appears in Google Lens — should result in more accurate translations when you’re connected to the internet.

The final major tweak is a visual change, as the search giant has tried to make the app more intuitive. This tweak sees the major features each having their own button at the bottom of the app (Instant, Scan, and Import).

Google has also tried to address the amount of flickering on translated text when using instant camera translations. “We’ve reduced that flickering, making the text more stable and easier to understand,” the company noted. Are there any other features or improvements you’d like to see in Google Translate? Let us know in the comments!

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