The camera translation feature of the Google Translate sounds very futuristic on paper, but practically, at least so far, it has been more a proof of concept. It is still usable and does the job, but it is far from being lucid and intuitive to interact. In fact, one of the biggest obstacles in using the camera translation is the fact that it is necessary to choose the languages before starting the camera since automatic language detection is not available. This can be annoying, especially since there is no way to change the source and target languages while looking through the viewfinder.
However, all this will change soon, and for the better. In a recent APK Insight, 9to5Google detected lines of code in the latest version of Google Translate that hints a great update for the app in the near future. Several suspicious improvements include “better translation quality” and “more supported languages“, but the most important is perhaps the automatic detection of the language that is coming to the camera translations.
Currently, users must pre-select the desired source and destination language, start the camera, take a picture and highlight the text they want to translate. In the future, however, this process will be more agile. First, Translate automatically detects the source language as soon as you point the camera at a text and you will have the option to select the target language. Secondly, Google is working on another feature called instant augmented reality that will immediately translate any text and display it as if it were written in the target language while still looking through the viewfinder. Now it’s more like the future of perfect translation that Google has been promising for years.
Apparently, the new features of the camera are present in version 5.29 of Google Translate, although they have not yet been enabled. This probably means that they depend on a server-side transition of Google. It is expected to go live in the next few weeks or months.
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