May 31, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Google Translate has been updated to finally step into the realm of the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich design standards. The new Holo digs are nicer to look at, faster to load, and offer a comfortable environment to explore a couple other features available in version 2.4.
Translate has added several new languages to its repertoire, including Esperanto. However, what’s most interesting is the handwriting tool that seems to do a very good job of picking up what the person is saying. For languages that use complex characters rather than a standard alphabet, like most Asian languages, the handwriting tool allows users to quickly enter a character set and have it translated. Multiple people on reddit Report that the app does a good job of recognizing Japanese Kanji, though it’s great at cursive handwriting (use print lettering instead).
Google Translate now offers multiple ways to translate phrases between languages. Users can also speak in their native tongues (Language A) and hear the translation spoken aloud from the phone (Language B). A person who speaks Language B could then respond and have it translated back into Language A. There’s a limit to how many languages can perform this function.
Many new text to speech languages have been added to the app. I’m not sure exactly which ones are new, but the full list of supported languages in Google Translate’s many forms is available at the bottom of the Google Play listing.