Google's long been the king of machine translation, but Apple appears to have designs upon its throne. The company revealed that its next release of iOS would feature "Live Text," a feature that's more or less a straight copy of the image processing Google has been doing in Lens for years. But as part of that, it's going to add rapid language translation pretty much everywhere in the operating system, including selectable text.

Android fans, this might seem familiar, because Android does pretty much the same thing. Not only is translation available in the usual places — the Chrome browser, photos, and documents via Lens, even in the keyboard — there are indications that soon Pixel phones at least will be able to translate text even within third-party apps. In Android 12 this would be a deep level that extends to things like interfaces and menus. The info on this isn't rock-sold, since Google didn't announce it itself, but it certainly seems to be in the works.

Contrast Apple's approach, which will allow translation of any selectable text (including text in photos and screenshots) in iOS 15 via pop-up. This is actually a little faster than Android, which requires a switch to the Lens or Google app for text translation. At launch, Apple's translation works between English, Chinese, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. That's obviously a lot less impressive than Google's Translate app, but it does work offline if you've downloaded the necessary files, which Translate can also do (with a lowered degree of accuracy).