The app uses AR to immediately convert text by pointing your phone at it

Google Translate's latest update for Android and iOS has just changed the game for English-speaking tourists traveling in Japan. The free, multilingual translation app has introduced a new feature that allows for Japanese to English translations instantaneously and entirely offline.

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Google Translate's 5.7 update, in addition to fixing a sharing bug with Facebook Messenger, adds support for instant English to/from Japanese translation via the camera. While the Google Translate app previously allowed users the ability to snap a photo for near-instant translations, the latest enhancement uses Word Lens to provide instant translations by hovering one's phone over text—no photo needed.

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Word Lens is an augmented reality application from American translation software company Quest Visual and was responsible for Google Translate's initial photo translation features. The feature launched within Google Translate in early 2015 with a handful of languages, and later expanded to support dozens more. The San Francisco-based company was acquired by Google in 2014 and has since been further innovating new advances in AR and language translation.

With Japan acting as a major point of attraction for global tourism, Google Translate's latest update provides a remarkable enhancement to an already quintessential travel app.

Google

Google Translate's latest update for Android and iOS has just changed the game for English-speaking tourists traveling in Japan. The free, multilingual translation app has introduced a new feature that allows for Japanese to English translations instantaneously and entirely offline.

Google Translate's 5.7 update, in addition to fixing a sharing bug with Facebook Messenger, adds support for instant English to/from Japanese translation via the camera. While the Google Translate app previously allowed users the ability to snap a photo for near-instant translations, the latest enhancement uses Word Lens to provide instant translations by hovering one's phone over text—no photo needed.