Android users can now quickly translate text in any app

Google has made it possible for a wide variety of Android users to get text translated in any app on their phone

Credit: Google

Android users can now get text translated in any app on their smartphone thanks to an update to Google Translate released today.

The app now has the new Tap to Translate feature that lets people select text in one language, copy it, and with the tap of a button, see it in another language. It's designed to make it easier for folks to quickly get translations without having to go through a whole process of switching apps and pasting the text into Google Translate.

The new feature works with all 130 languages supported by Google's translation service, and it works inside any application on a smartphone or tablet running Jelly Bean or later version of Android.

Google has also improved Translate's offline mode, making it easier to download language packs that you can use when your phone is without an Internet connection. Although Translate previously had an offline mode, you had to download big files hundreds of megabytes in size for it to work. 

Those files now weigh in at around 25MB, about one tenth its previous size. Also, the offline mode now works on iOS in addition to Android. On Android, the two features combine to let users translate snippets of text offline using the Tap to Translate feature.

In related news, Google's Word Lens feature -- which translates text live through a phone's camera -- now supports both Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese.