Google Lens is the infamous image recognition technology that uses the camera in your smartphone to capture and interpret information using the special visual analysis based on a neural network propreitary to Google Inc. The project was first announced in Google I/0 2017 as a stand alone app but later it was integrated into the Camera app of the Android OS.
I have personally used Google Lens even back in 2018 and have amazed some uncles with its image translation feature. Back then it wasn't very accurate in terms of how it translates. Now that its 2021, the translation and the user experience has improved extensively to the point that this is the best translation and image recognition product available out there.
How does Google Translate on Google Lens works?
The user is required to place the camera of the smartphone over any object. When its done, the Lens app will identify the particular object by its neural network using information taken from the object like barcodes, QR codes, shapes, labels, text etc., Some of the common examples of this are connecting to Wifi using the QR code, translation etc.,
In the year 2019, Google announced that they have added new features to Google Lens. They are :
- Food Menu recognition
- Reading text out loud
The newest feature that Google has enabled in the ability to translate via Google Lens offline. This is enabled only for Android as of now.
Google Translate Online
As we all are aware of Google Translate, Google Lens integrates the Translate feature directly into this camera. This ideally means you can scan any image which has a text of any language and it could be directly translated to any language available directly from the screen. Once its successfully translated, the translation will be shown as an overlay on the live preview in the camera itself.
Google Translate works currently with over 100 languages. The translation feature is available in terms of how you can access it. You could type to translate, Write, Speak to translate, Use Google Lens to translate, View translate and the best of all is the ability to translate offline when you don't have an internet connection.
And as you can see certainly see, not all the features have been adapted to be used in all these avenues but you can be sure that the popular languages are available to be used in all avenues.
Google Translate Offline
This newest feature as I mentioned above has been rolled out as server side update. Once your app is updated to this new release, You will be a new option that says "Tap to Download" next to most of the languages available in the Google Translate select Language screen as you can see in the screenshow below. Once you choose which language you want to have the option to translate offline, you could tap on the Download button next to it.
Please make sure you have enough space in your Phone Memory. It doesn't take a lot for a single language but its better to be safe than sorry in case if you want this offline feature available for all possible languages.
When you choose the particular language to download, you will be asked on a prompt informing you about the size of the file. Once you are okay with that, tap on Download.
Once its downloaded, you could go ahead and disconnect to wifi and data, if you would like to test it. Once disconnected, translate how you would normally using the camera and you could see in the screenshow below that says "Offline - Some features not available".
Its not clear at the moment whether this feature will be coming to the iOS version in some way since there is not Google Lens dedicated app. As of now, we are using the Google Search app to use Google Lens feature.
Use Google Translate without an Internet connection
The bottomline is that Google Lens is an extremely useful feature that could definitley make our lives better and break barriers in languages in whichever corner you are in the world. In the last decade, Translate has been used billions of times by people across the world to communciate effectively with even people who don't speak their language necessarily.