Google Translate works in Whatsapp: Tool can now convert messages inside Android apps into foreign languages

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Lucille Barrett
Future teen idol. Hardcore tv lover. Social media guru. Zombie aficionado. Travel scholar. Biker, shiba-inu lover, audiophile, Mad Men fan and proud pixelpusher. Working at the junction of minimalism and elegance to answer design problems with honest solutions. I'm fueled by craft beer, hip-hop and tortilla chips.

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But it can prove time-consuming switching between apps on your mobile to translate a review on a travel website, for example.

Google has updated its Translate app to allow it to operate within apps such as TripAdvisor and WhatsApp, meaning no more switching back and forwards to translate text.


In a blog post, Barak Turovsky, product lead, Google Translate, writes: ‘We face communication barriers every day. Switching back and forth between apps and screens to translate shouldn’t be another one.

‘We’ve heard your feedback and have worked with the Android team to make translating text, chats, and other app content a whole lot easier.

‘Beginning this week, you’ll be able to translate in 90 languages right from within some of your favorite apps like TripAdvisor, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn.’

In the post, Google showed how the tool works within WhatsApp, to instantly translate a message from one of 90 languages to another or translate a TripAdvisor review.

It’s hoped developers will enable more apps using Android text selection, meaning inaccessible cookery apps may take off in new countries, or foreign newspapers could be easier to read.

The feature will be available for Android users who update to the latest operating system – Android Marshmallow.

Google’s Nexus handsets have, or will get the update shortly, with other relatively new Android phones by a range of manufacturers expected to get it in the coming months.

The blog explains that users will need to have the Translate app downloaded to their handset.

Once they have, they can simply visit a compatible app and highlight and select text to see the translate option.

Google revealed that more than 500 million people translate over 100 billion words a day on Google Translate, which added ‘conversation mode’ in January.

Conversation Mode allows iOS and Android users to talk to the app and get a written translation of what they’re saying, in real-time, on the screen.

The app also has a Word Lens tool, which lets people use camera mode to take a photo of text and get a translation in 36 languages.

Users can point their camera at a sign or text and see the translated text overlaid on the screen – even if they don’t have a data connection.

This instant translation currently works for translation from English to French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. In January, Google said it is working on expanding to more languages.

Android Marshmallow will replace Lollipop, which is currently run by many of the latest Android handsets.

Marshmallow will include a simpler way for users to set permissions for apps, support for USB Type-C and Android Pay, Google’s mobile wallet, and The Verge.

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