Google Translate has been available as a web app for iPhone since about 2008, but today it’s finally available as a full-blown app, complete with voice recognition and audio pronunciation of translated text. Google Translate for the iPhone can recognize 15 languages through spoken input, over 50 written, and return robo-translated audio speech in 23 languages. There’s also dictionary results, if you want to drill further down into particular words. There’s a full-screen mode to enable smoother use when showing your phrase to other people, but it doesn’t seem quite as smooth as the conversation mode in the Android app. You can also add stars to common phrases, which could be handy if you know you’re going to be a total tourist and ask a bunch of people the same thing over and over.
With apps like this, we’re getting to the point where language barriers can be easily broken down. Features like this were not too long ago considered a ridiculous, impossible joke. Coverage may sometimes be an issue, since data will have to be sent back and forth, but I trust it won’t be long before individual language packs can be cached locally, so you won’t even need wireless coverage to have your own personal universal translator.
The download link Google Translate on the iPhone is below, if you want to get started. You might also want to grab Google Goggles, which can translate printed text simply by using your phone to take a picture of it. So, uh, howzabout a BlackBerry app next, Google?
[via Google Mobile Blog]