Whenever I travel abroad I always do my best to act like a local, including speaking the local language whenever I can. In some countries that works great, in others, I can’t really avoid being a bumbling mess.
One tool I use pretty regularly is Google Translate. I managed to have an entire conversation with a cab driver in Sicily last month using the app, and it’s come in handy an infinite amount of times when I needed to translate a word or two I didn’t understand on a street sign or menu.
Another feature I use pretty often: its camera. With the iOS and Android app you can take a picture of something like a food menu and get an instant translation, often in AI right on top of that menu, of what’s being said.
It’s pretty impressive and can make you look like significantly less of a tourist when you’re out in a country where your language skills are sub-par.
This week Google announced support for a handful of other languages, specifically Arabic, Thai, Vietnamese, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marthi, Nepali, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu.
That list adds to an already pretty extensive list of supported languages (you can see them all here). If you happen to be travelling to a country where one of those is spoken, or you’re just trying to translate a document, it can be a solid thing to have on your phone.