The Google Translate app for Android has been updated to version 2.5. The new version, among other things, allows users to take a picture of the text that that they want translated and then swipe it to have it translated. This new feature is available to users with Android 2.3 and up. Late in 2010, we had reported about Word Lens, which did something similar with images and translation. Word Lens is an app for the iPhone that instantly translates text in an image. It uses optical character recognition technology, so the next time you don't understand something, just point at it with your iPhone camera and you'll be greeted by an instant translation.

Among other features, the updated Google Translate app provides you instant translation results as you type. Users also have the option of choosing dialect preferences for speech input. One of the other highlighted features that the updated app brings to the table is that the app now recognizes multiple characters for Japanese handwriting input. 

Google Translate app for Android updated

Google Translate app for Android updated

At a glance, the changelog reads – 

  • Use camera to take a picture and brush text to translate (available on Android 2.3 and above).
  • Get instant translation results as you type.
  • Choose dialect preference for speech input.
  • Japanese handwriting now recognizes multiple characters at once.
  • Added access network state permission to check network availability when sending requests.

The Google Translate app has been quite a popular application. Last year, Google added as many as 14 global languages to the Conversation mode feature. The feature is now available in – Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Russian and Turkish, taking the total number of supported languages to an impressive 16.

Conversation Mode was first introduced as an experiment. This feature allowed users to speak directly into their smartphone's microphone, and the Translate app would translate the spoken language and would read it aloud. Then, the person on the other end would speak into their microphone and the Translation app would translate it for you and read it aloud. However, at the outset, Google had enabled this feature in only English and Spanish. 

Late in April, this year, Google Translate announced in a blog post that they're standing at 200 million monthly active users. That number is only reflective of their stats on their website, There are even more users using the service on Chrome, mobile apps and YouTube. Also, as you could imagine, people need to use a service like Google Translate frequently when they're on the go. As a result, mobile traffic for Google Translate has more than quadrupled over the last year. People are also using the service all over the world. Google says that 92 percent of Translate's service is coming from people in countries outside the United States. That population, however, could also comprise of people from the United States travelling in foreign countries.

To download the app, you can head over to Google Play, here. 

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