[Update: Rolling out] Google Translate tests instant translation in the camera with automatic language detection
In spite of the lack of success with Google Glass, Google firmly believes that augmented reality will dominate the future of services like Search and Maps. Naturally, Google Lens received due attention at Google I/O this year, and a host of features to make information easily perceptible and your life easier, in general, were shown off at the keynote. Among these features, the instant translation with automatic language detection is coming to Google Lens but before that, it has already started to become available on the Google Translate Android app.
As first spotted by 9to5Google in the Google Translate 5.29 APK, a better interface and new features that will improve the quality of translation while using the camera are in the works. The Instant translation mode is getting an upgrade including new functionality to detect the language automatically. This will not only help you with faster translations but also make sure that you can just aim at any text without actually knowing the language it is written in and expect a reliable translation.
Screenshots: Mishaal Rahman\\XDA-Developers
As part of the new interface, there is a new bar at the bottom with the three available modes such as Instant, Scan, Import. The Instant mode, which is currently represented by an eye-shaped toggle icon, now also gets a more descriptive, “Pause translation” button. The text translated with the Instant mode is displayed on top of the original text with its formatting style (somewhat) intact.
The Scan mode is pretty similar to the earlier versions, but there’s a minor addition in the form of a new Clear button which lets you unselect the highlighted set of words. Additionally, the Import mode lets you select and scan existing images from the gallery to translate them.
While the functionality of the Google Translate app is pretty similar to the earlier versions in terms of the features, the new interface with indicative text makes it easier to use. The new interface as well as the automatic language detection should be available to Google Translate with version 5.29 but, it seems to be a server-side switch so predicting exactly will be difficult. Since we were able to spot it on the latest Android Q beta, we suspect that might be a requisite for the feature (although we cannot say that for sure). In the meantime, you can check for any updates to the app via Play Store.
Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.
Update: Rolling out
Google is now rolling out the features that were discovered in the original article. Google Translate’s instant camera feature now supports over 60 new languages. Some of the new languages include Arabic, Hindi, Malay, Thai, and Vietnamese. More importantly, you can translate between more languages. Rather than being limited to just English > other languages, you can translate from Arabic to French, Japanese to Chinese, etc.
The update also adds an option to “Detect language” for when you’re not sure of the language you’re looking at. And now the Neural Machine Translation technology is built into the instant camera, which reduces errors by 55-85%. The new look is also rolling out. It looks slightly different than the images above, but it’s the same concept. Translated text won’t flicker as much anymore and the translate features are in the bottom toolbar.