Google has added the ability for travelers to make use of the Android version of its popular Google Translate application, even when there’s no internet connectivity.
The app, which allows users to type or speak a message in their native tongue and have it spoken back or written in the language of the recipient, has become an indispensable travel tool for smartphone users in recent times.
However, until now there’s always been the caveat that without nearby Wi-Fi users have to decide weather to incur pricey data roaming charges or buy a local SIM card in order to get their message across.
Today’s update means users will simply be able to download the appropriate language packs for the country or countries they’re visiting and hey presto, no more data charges.
The packs are currently available for 50 languages and are only around 150MB in size, meaning they won’t take up an awful lot of space on the device.
Google says the language packs aren’t quite as comprehensive as when the app is able to consult an online database, but they should certainly be enough to make sure your requests aren’t lost in translation.
In a post on the official Android blog, Associate Product Manager Minqi Jiang, wrote: “You can select [Offline Languages] in the app menu to see all the offline language packages available for download. To enable offline translation between any two languages, you just need to select them in the offline languages menu. Once the packages are downloaded, you’re good to go.
“While the offline models are less comprehensive than their online equivalents, they are perfect for translating in a pinch when you are traveling abroad with poor reception or without mobile data access.
“So go out and explore another language or another culture without worrying about Internet access. There’s a whole world offline out there.”
Handsets must be on Android 2.3 and above, but the chances are, if you’re still rocking less than Gingerbread on your handset, Google Translate won’t be on your radar anyway.