While a lot of people are probably not traveling to another country anytime soon due to the pandemic, it’s still handy to have a translation app or feature on your smartphone. Google Lens has been a pretty great tool for doing translations for visual searches. You can still use it to translate restaurant menus, street signs, and other things you might come across that are in a different language you don’t understand. They have been working on an offline translate feature so you can use the tool even without an Internet connection and now it has started rolling out to Android devices.
To access the offline translation (if the update has rolled out to you already), you can click on the translate filter on Google Lens. Then tap on the pairing pill and choose “Select Language”. When you launch it for the first time, you’ll see a “Tap to download” prompt since you will have to download the language database to use offline translation. You’ll see a download button next to most of the languages that are supported by this feature.
Since this may be a pretty big file, Google will tell you how big the language pack is as well as what storage is still available on your device to help you make the decision, according to 9 to 5 Google. When you do download a language for offline use, you’ll see a checkmark beside it on the list once it’s complete. If you want to remove it, just tap on the checkmark again. You can start trying it out for “live” translations as it will work even before you press the shutter button of your Google Lens camera.
The translation is overlaid on the live preview when you use it. You’ll also see a note in the bottom sheet that this translation has been done offline. There’s a disclaimer that “some features (were) not available. You can copy the translated text but it says “copy all”. You can’t choose particular lines of text to copy unlike when you’re online or connected and you can do that. Google seems to have fixed some of the accuracy issues that happened while testing.
Google Lens’ offline translation feature has a translated output that may not be perfect but is pretty close. You have to update your Google app to the latest version to access this feature.