Google has just dropped a Google Translate update into the Play Store, bringing it into a new ICS-flavored age. The most obvious change is the switch over to a Holo interface complete with clean drop down menus, an action bar, and better speech recognition. For the weary world traveler, things also get easier with wider language support.

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The app performs sometimes imperfect text translation between 64 different languages. The app can also listen and transcribe spoken words in 17 languages to save you keystrokes. This version ups the number of dialects that can be spoken out loud by the phone to 40, including Esperanto (which people totally still speak someplace). Any translation that uses non-Latin characters will be spelled out for you so you can attempt to pronounce it.

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That last image is the old UI, just for comparison. Stark difference, right? I've only had reason to use Translate a few times, but it always worked well. Keep in mind that you need to have a data connection because all the hard work is done on Google's servers.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play.

  • Chris Webster

    About time. As something I use everyday, its nice that they choose to update it to ICS looks!

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Excellent update - the looks are vastly improved.

    • Matt

       Agreed, the old one looks so child-like and cartoonish!

  • Pat & Bill Chapman

    It's good to see the Esperanto here too. Esperanto has a large but scattered speaker-population.

  • Jasopan

    As expected of Google :)

  • http://twitter.com/benjymous/ benjymous

    The "draw" mode is particularly useful - it's shown drawing Japanese symbols but it works in any language - can't figure out how to type an accented character on your keyboard?  Just draw it instead.

  • http://twitter.com/TheGermian Germian

    Me gusta!

  • Ravrahn

    Holo.Light.DarkActionBar is a gift to mankind. The new Translate looks gorgeous!

  • Ravi E

    Am i the only one who noticed the #TBBT reference.. :D

    • ChumbleSpuzz

      Good catch!

  • http://en-gb.facebook.com/people/Brian-Barker/1004522862 Brian Barker

    Esperanto is in fact more widespread than people imagine.
    Esperanto is now in the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide. It is the 22nd most used language in Wikipedia, ahead of Danish and Arabic. It is a language choice of, Skype, Firefox, Ubuntu and Facebook.

    Esperanto is a living language - see http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8837438938991452670 Their online course http://www.lernu.net has 125 000 hits per day and Esperanto Wikipedia enjoys 400 000 hits per month.  That can't be bad :)

  • Jef Cashless

    If only it offered downloadable language packs for offline usage like the default translation app on Winphone. I leave to Japan on the 3rd, that would be hella useful. 

  • YOUhin

    I saw your app,WOW its almost the same as what i have ,I’m a student and let me share to you what I have right now. I have this app on my iPhone called speechtrans got it from itunes that let me communicate with people with different languages.this is the website http://speechtrans.com this app help me to my language class.and also eliminate language barrier. i hope this will help student like me because its a great help for esl student, for me its consider a educational tool . and thank you so much for posting this app its  big news , because allot of people is experiencing language barrier in the web. i will leave a feed back on the app once i try it thank you