International travel could get much easier if all you have to do is point your phone at a menu, or speak into it for an instant translation. That’s the magic promised in a leaked build of Google Translate that’s apparently in the works. The new version of Google’s translation app adds features courtesy of Google’s acquisition of Word Lens, which already has much of this functionality in place. You can grab the app now to get an idea of what the new image translation in Google Translate will be like.
A few months ago Google purchased the developer of the impressive WordLens app, which translates text and signs from another language into your own simply by pointing your camera at it. The text appears in your language through the lens, as if you had super-powered Translate-O-Vision. As with Waze and Google Maps, it looks like Google’s own Translate app will soon see the benefit of that acquisition. Check out the screenshots below, taken from an upcoming version of Google Translate. You can see WordLens’ trademark feature at work in Google Translate above, where it’s live-translating an English menu into Spanish without any kind of delay or recording. You can try out this functionality in the original WordLens app, which was made free after the Google acquisition. The initial rollout of Live Translate in Google Translate will work both ways between English and French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Unfortunately, the version of the app we’ve seen can only go to and from English – there’s no way to translate from, say, Russian to Spanish with this live mode.