If you're a fan of the Google Translate mobile app, you'll be pleased to learn that its instant camera translation function has received an upgrade. The upgrade is aimed at making travel easier, and it will be especially useful as it works even when the phone isn't connected to wi-fi or using cellular data.

A girl holding a phone in the air and pointing it at the sign in front of her
Google Translate’s new camera tech can make travelling easier. Image: praetorianphoto/Getty Images

Google Translate allows users to explore unfamiliar lands and communicate in different languages. Its instant camera translation function allows users to see the world in their own language by pointing the phone camera lens at the foreign text on signs, menus and more. The feature was first added in 2015 and it enabled users to translate 28 languages into English. With the new update, it can now transcribe 88 languages into more than 100 languages, and the languages it supports include Arabic, Hindi, Malay, Thai and Vietnamese.

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Google Translate has added new features to help travellers.

It also supports over 10 African languages, such as Afrikaans, Sesotho, Igbo and Somali. The app can automatically determine the language of the item it is pointed at, which will be useful for those travelling in a region where multiple languages are used. Other updates include the inclusion of neural machine translation, which produces more accurate and natural translations and reduces errors in certain language pairs.

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Travellers will now be able to instantly translate foreign languages while travelling.

The app now has a new look and is more intuitive to use. The issue of the screen flickering has been addressed, making the text more stable and easier to understand. There are now three camera translation features located on the bottom of the app, including “Instant,” which translates foreign text when the camera is pointed at it. "Scan" lets users take a photo and use their finger to highlight the text they want translated, and “Import” lets them translate text from photos on their camera roll.

To try out the enhanced instant camera translation feature, download the Google Translate app.

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