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Instant Camera Translation – See the world in your own language

3 min read
Instant Camera Translation

Instant Camera Translation – See the world in your own language

Google Translate allows you to explore and communicate with the world. One such way is the instant camera translation, an intuitive feature that helps you understand the world by just pointing your camera lens at the foreign text. It’s especially helpful when you’re traveling abroad as it works even when you’re not connected to wifi or using cellular data. Today we’re announcing new upgrades to this feature, so that it’s even more useful.

Instant Camera Translation - See the world in your own language 2

Translate from 88 languages into 100+ languages

Four years ago, we increased the supported languages in the instant camera translation from 7 to almost 30. Now we’re expanding the support to over 60 languages, for a total of 88! The newly added languages including Arabic, Hindi, Malay, Thai, Vietnamese, etc., and you can find the full list of all supported languages here.


What’s more exciting is that, previously you could only translate between English and other languages, but now you can translate into any of the 100+ languages supported on Google Translate. This means you can now translate from Arabic to French, or from Japanese to Chinese, and etc.

Automatically detect the language

When traveling abroad, especially in a region with multiple languages, it can be challenging for people to determine the language of the instant camera translation. We took care of that – in the new version of the app, you can just select “Detect language” as the source language, and the Translate app will automatically detect the language and translate. Say you’re traveling through South America, where both Portuguese and Spanish are spoken, and you encounter a sign. Translate app can now determine what language the sign is in, and then translate it for you into your language of choice.

Better translations powered by Neural Machine Translation

For the first time, the Neural Machine Translation (NMT) technology is built into the instant camera translations. The NMT technology produces more accurate and natural translations, reducing errors by 55-85 percent in certain language pairs. And most of the languages can be downloaded onto your device, so you can get NMT-powered translations even when the device is not connected to the internet. However, when your device is connected to the internet, the feature uses that connection to produce higher quality translations. This NMT text translation technology is what also powers our recently launched Lens feature.

A new look

Last but not least, the feature has a new look and is more intuitive to use. In the past, you might have noticed the translated text would flicker when viewed on your phone, making it difficult to read. We’ve reduced that flickering, making the text more stable and easier to understand. The new look has all three camera translation features conveniently located on the bottom of the app: “Instant” translates foreign text when you point your camera at it. “Scan” lets you take a photo and use your finger to highlight the text you want translated. And import lets you translate text from photos on your camera roll.

Head here to download the Google Translate apps and use the instant camera translation feature.

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