Sawubona! Soon you'll be able to use the instant photo function on Google Translate for Zulu, Xhosa and Sesotho

2019-07-11 15:45 - Gabi Zietsman
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Our beautiful country is blessed with 11 official languages, but this can get a bit confusing for international visitors who won't necessarily be able to tell which is which. 

But with the latest Google Translate update rolling out, travellers will be able to point their camera to a Xhosa, Zulu, Afrikaans or Sesotho word and instantly be told what language it is and what it means in their own mother tongue.

CHECK OUT: This app turns your phone camera into an all-knowing exploration device

According to Forbes, there will be three new features - 'Instant' will translate a word immediately when pointed at it with your camera, 'Scan' lets you take a photo and highlight the word with your fingers and 'Import' let's you use a photo already on your camera roll.

At the moment you can only take a photo of an Afrikaans word for translation, but the Neural Machine Translation technology used by the app is expected to reduce errors between 55 - 85% between certain languages. The update at the moment will only be available to about 1% of users, reports The Verge, but a full rollout will be taking place over the next few weeks. 

READ: Travel Africa like an African

In total 88 languages would be supported by the upgraded camera function - other African languages on the list include Shona (Zimbabwe), Chichewa (Malawi), Swahili (East Africa), Malagasy (Madagascar), Hausa (West and Central Africa), Igbo (Nigeria) and Yoruba (Nigeria and Benin).

You can see the full list here.

Besides using the camera, you can also use voice recognition in conversations that will translate as you talk - when all else fails you can just go back to old-school and manually type in the word like a neanderthal.

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