I guess there’s not a single person in the world who hasn’t heard of Google Translate. It’s free, quick, easily accessible from any device, integrated in most Google services, it supports a large number of languages and, although not perfect and prone to errors on complicated phrases, colloquialisms and generally on context issues, as no machine has yet learned to understand the context the same way a human translator does, it remains one of the best options of the kind available on the market.
However few people know that since acquiring in 2014 Quest Visual, the creators of WordLens, an augmented reality translation app, Google Translate app when installed in your smartphone or tablet, provides you with an option of camera translations in real time, without the need to manually type or copy the text you want to translate into Google Translate app.
This is how it works: you point your phone camera to any text you want to translate, and – voila! – you see the translation on the screen instantly. Magic!
The good thing about it, apart from being instant and free, is that it can work offline, provided you previously download language packs you want to use. The not so good thing is its accuracy, but then again I guess most Google Translate users realize that although the app provides an easy and fast solution for an approximate understanding of a foreign language text, so far no algorithm has been invented to properly understand the context or double or triple meanings of the words in order to deliver a 100% accurate translation.
However said that, the new enhanced Google Translate app for iOS and Android would certainly help you to bridge the communication gap and greatly improve your travel experience.