Google Signage
The Google signage is seen at the company's offices in New York January 8, 2013. Reuters/Andrew Kelly

Word Lens will be able to function even without an Internet connection. Aside from English, the visual translations will also work in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Users of the new app can use their phone's camera to instantly translate phrases, using the Word Lens feature, which works without a Wi-Fi or a data connection. The Translate app works with the camera mode to capture a photo of a text (a signage for example) and instantly get translation in 36 languages.

Additionally, users can tap the mic in the app to switch to translation mode then by tapping the mic again, the Google Translate app will automatically recognise which language is being spoken, allowing smoother conversation. has made a very interesting hands-on test on Google's updated Translate app for Android. Using the Moto X smartphone, a representative from Time spoke with somebody speaking fluently in French. According to the test, the app was able to translate sentences with less mistake, though some sentences translated to English sounded somewhat unclear. Generally, the app can be used in translating non-English conversations.

On the other hand, when the app is in "listening mode", users just need to place the device near two people who are conversing in a certain language. The app would then distinguish the language being used by the speakers then the app would write the translation and is also able to speak the words in the foreign language.

According to The Verge, Google has been working on the said app, but some say that its immediate release might be to counter Microsoft's Skype real-time translation tool which was launched last month. Apparently, Microsoft targets the academic institutions with its translator, while Google sees its own app as a personal tool.

Finally, Google said that more than 500 million people use its version of translator app, which means that more than one billion translations are made every day, every month. The search giant also adds that the update will be available to Android and iOS users this week.

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