Today's update to Google Translate probably won't affect most of our American readers, but if you live in or frequently travel to India, you're going to get a lot of use out of it. The update to version 3.0.6 adds spoken translation support for Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu, all widely spoken in different parts of the Indian subcontinent and other locations in Southeast Asia.
Many in the western hemisphere think that Hindi is the official language of India, and it is (along with English). But India is enormous, both in terms of geography and population, and it has one of the most diverse linguistic topographies of any country on Earth. Only about 40% of India's population speaks Hindi natively, with the rest being divided among different dialects and regions. Today's Google Translate update allows native speakers of Hindi and seven other Indian languages to speak directly into the app and translate their words into text for other supported languages. (These languages were previously available in text-only translations.)
Old on the left, new on the right.
In addition to the language updates, the app has re-shuffled a few of the options: help and feedback are now combined into one item, and the Product tour option (the slideshow you see when you first open the app) is no longer available as a separate selection. Translate now tells you how data-heavy each language pack will be when you download them for offline use. It will also tell you when a download is in progress.
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.
File name : com.google.android.apps.translate-3.0.6.apk Version : 3.0.6 (Android 2.3+) MD5 : a5346b039f1ec951a986ea1e8ef217ca
Update: Version 3.0.7 hit shortly after, and it looks like a quick bug fixer. Here is a mirror.
Thanks, Brandon Peters!