If you’re not a natural linguist, traveling can be pretty stressful. Not only are you in unfamiliar surroundings, but if you’re unable to communicate with the people around you – aside from a few excitable gestures and slowly and loudly speaking in English at them – it can be a daunting way to spend your annual leave.
Thankfully, the clever boffins at Google Maps think they’ve come up with a solution for the issue.
The latest update to Google Maps, which will be coming to Android later this month, brings the power of the hugely-popular Google Translate feature directly into Maps. It’s all designed to stop things getting lost in translation when navigating abroad.
Google Maps can now speak-out the names and addresses in the local language thanks to Google Translate. That means you won’t find yourself trying to ask someone for help finding the western name of a venue, street, or building.
Not only that, but Google also lets you translate other phrases – like “thanks so much for the directions” within Google Maps too. So you don’t need to keep swapping between apps to find the right directions and try to ask a local.
Once you’re up-and-running on the latest Google Maps, you can press the new speaker button next to the name of the place you’ve found within the app. Google will check the language setting used for your smartphone, then use its text-to-speech technology to work out which place names might need to be translated into another language.
For example, if you’re using an Android phone that is set to English, but find yourself in Japan – Google Maps will know that the Anglicised place names might not help when speaking with a local, so it will place the speaker icon next to place names to help you with the Japanese names and addresses.
To get more translations beyond the basic name and address, you’ll just need to hit the “Get More Translations” button underneath the pop-up that appears when you tap the speaker icon. This launches Google Translate within Maps. It has all the usual features and functionality, so you’ll be able to dictate to the smartphone, or take a picture of something to get translations back into English – or any other language that would be useful to you.
This exciting new translator starts rolling out to Google Maps this month. At launch, it will have support for just 50 languages.