Google Translate is getting an update today, but it looks pretty light on features. The main changes appear to center around properly labeling languages. Nine dialects are getting proper names, and it seems the term 'dialect' is going out of style, so Translate is now saying 'region' everywhere. A look through the APK also shows that we can look forward to app shortcuts in the future.

What's New

Unofficial Changelog: (the stuff we found)

  • Dialects are now referred to as regions
  • Updated dialect/region names

Dialects -> Regions

Left: v5.15. Right: v5.16.

It's probably not very significant, but Google Translate is adjusting the terminology it uses for variants of languages. The term 'dialect' is being replaced by 'region' throughout the app.

I can't say that I know why the change is occurring, but I'm inclined to guess that this is about technical accuracy. Since the term 'dialect' is often interpreted as describing social groups as much as it does geographic locales, it might make sense to specify that Google Translate is focused on regional distinctions rather than things like social standing. Again, that's just a guess. I can say that the strings are all still named with the term dialect, so this probably doesn't refer to any change in function of what is actually included in the lists.

New regional dialects

Left: v5.15. Right: v5.16.

While the distinction between dialect and regional speech is probably trivial, there is another technically cosmetic tweak that's actually pretty important. In the last version, there were nine dialects that were only listed by their ISO 639 codes. In this update, they've been given proper names. These are the updated language names:

  • Bengali (Bangladesh)
  • Bengali (India)
  • English (Ghana)
  • Urdu (India)
  • Urdu (Pakistan)
  • Tamil (India)
  • Tamil (Sri Lanka)
  • Tamil (Malaysia)
  • Tamil (Singapore)


Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. Even when predictions are correct, there is always a chance that plans could change or may be canceled entirely. Much like rumors, nothing is certain until it's officially announced and released.

The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don't expect to see these features if you install the apk.

Launcher shortcuts

When Android 7.1 launched, it seemed like we couldn't go more than a few days between each new Google app adding a shortcut of its own. However, quite a few apps waited until a while later to join the club. As it turns out, Translate is one of those.

There has actually been code in the Translate app to support shortcuts for a while, but there's still no way to create one. It's making a teardown now, though, because icons for all four of the functions have been added. Once this launches, there will be shortcuts for the camera, handwriting, keyboard, and voice modes.


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.

Version: 5.16.0.RC07.183780509

Google Translate
Google Translate
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free