In a bid to better compete with Google Translate, Microsoft has beefed up its Translator app. The company has now added loads of new features already found in Google's translator, ranging from artificial intelligence, language packs and offline translation.
Microsoft rolled out the update Thursday both on the app's iOS and Android versions. With the app, one can translate a text by typing it, drawing it, speaking it or taking a picture. Translator will then dish out the verbal and onscreen translation.
Microsoft Translator for iOS, which can be used on iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch devices, now sports Optical Character Recognition (OCR). With this functionality, the app can translate text within an image file. Users of the iOS app are now able to translate text from their saved photos or camera roll. The app will provide the translation right on top of the text within the photo.
Users can benefit from this feature when translating menus, fliers, signs and other images found on the Internet. Though the image translation feature has just been made available for the iOS app, which was released in 2015, it has actually been present in the Translator apps for Windows and Windows Phone since 2010.
This particular functionality is only available to iOS users in these languages: Chinese Traditional, Chinese Simplified, Danish, Czech, English, Dutch, French, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, German, Korean, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Turkish and Korean.
Meanwhile, the app's version for Android devices now has a notable AI feature. Thanks to Microsoft's Deep Neural Network-powered offline engine, users can use the app even without an Internet connection. The offline packs can be downloaded at no cost.
"Users can get near online-quality translations, even when they are not connected to the Internet," Microsoft says in a blog post.
To use offline translation, Android users should head to the App Menu and hit the Offline Languages option. They should then download the source plus target languages. Do note, though, that at the moment this feature is only limited to English, French, Italian, Chinese Simplified, German, Portuguese, Polish, Vietnamese, Spanish and Russian.
This feature could be helpful to those who travel in a place where Internet connection is nonexistent or sluggish.
Apart from Android phones, Microsoft Translator for Android can likewise be downloaded on smartwatches running Android Wear.
Microsoft Translator for Android and iOS presently supports 50 languages. In comparison, Google Translate has support for 103 languages.