Google Translate is one of the most forward-thinking tools to come out of Google, for travelers. Still, it is not a tool that travelers should just download and forget about until needed. It is a somewhat complicated app that needs a little research and testing, but can be invaluable once a traveler gets the hang of it.
Getting the App
There was a time when travelers had to rely on phrasebooks or translation books in order to communicate abroad, which was not only awkward but also time-consuming. To use the Google Translate app, travelers must first download the app, which is only available for those using Android or an iOS smartphone. The app normally requires an Internet connection in order to translate from the user’s native tongue to the local language.
This is likely not surprising since so many things are done online nowadays, including finding good trip insurance, so why not use the Internet to translate? It is important for travelers to be realistic because traveling could also mean loss of signal. The Internet covers most of the globe, but there are still several regions where web connections are scarce.
The download should take place when the Internet connection is working well because most language packages average around 240MB, which can take a while if the user does not have strong connection.
All downloads are free, so it won’t cost travelers a penny to do so. It might be a good idea for travelers to download the language into a mini-SD card, especially if more than one language is going to be needed.
Using Google Translate
Getting the app is just one part of the process. Travelers are going to have to know how to use it, too. Google Translate’s user interface is pretty simple and the interface comes with a large text box where the user’s text will be displayed. The user will also see language options along with three input methods.
Scribble – The scribble input option allows the user to draw words directly on the screen, which can be helpful for travelers that encounter languages that do not use the English alphabet.
Chatting – Chatting is also made easy with Google Translate’s chat input. The user just speaks directly into the phone’s mic, and the app translates speech into another language. The other person gets to do the same for their reply. The tool has not been perfected for all languages, but it already includes French, Spanish, Italian, Danish, German, and Chinese just to name a few.
Snap – Snap is another feature Google Translate uses, and it helps turn words into the user’s language by simply holding the camera up to the words. This could be useful in translating menus or street signs.
There is no doubt that Google Translate is yet another great tool to make it easier for people to travel the globe.