Google’s new upgrade makes Translate the perfect travel companion app. The translation service now utilizes a “smarter” dictionary. Parlez-vous français? With the upgrades offered in the Google Translate app, you can communicate with the panache of a life-long Parisian without having to worry about those pesky foreign language nuances. Never again will travelers in a far-away land timidly attempt to say “Please pass the salt” and wind up saying “Your sister has hairy legs.” Google Translate has taken the fear out of botching your translation and incurring an ugly international event with what Google describes as a “smarter” dictionary.
The purpose of the upgrade is to assist travelers in better understanding the foreign meaning of a language rather than relying strictly on the literal translation that may miss the mark culturally. The new additions incorporate three new features; “reverse translation”, “frequencies” and “Synonyms”.
“Reverse translation” seeks to provide different variations of a translation that allows the user to decide which is the closest meaning contextually speaking. With this feature, a traveler can distinguish the subtle difference between words such as “lingo” and “dialect”.
“Frequencies” ranks translations in terms of relevance. Each word is ranked as common, uncommon or rare in usage popularity. This gives users a better understanding of the more proper word to choose. Rare phrases are not displayed on the screen but can be accessed if desired with a simple click.
“Synonyms” groups words into clusters that make word selection more streamlined. Right now, this feature is only available when translating into English. However, more languages will be added in the near future.
In a related feature, Google Translate is incorporating photos into the Android app that allows you to photograph a street sign or menu and swipe the text which can then be translated. This is accomplished by freezing the text in the image and translating it into another menu. So next time you’re feeling a culinary adventure coming on, at least you know what you are ordering. Bon Appetite!