Google Translate App Adds More Context in Case of Multiple Meanings

Forever getting tripped up by local idioms and turns of phrase? This update should help.

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
Phone with Google Translate open

Google Translate has a billion users, according to the company.

Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Google's AI-powered Translate app has saved many a lost tourist in its time, but on Wednesday the company said it's getting an upgrade.

Over the past year, Google has added more languages to its translation tool, including in offline mode. Now, it's bringing context to translation results to help you understand local idioms, turns of phrase and words with multiple meanings.

"So whether you're trying to order bass for dinner, or play a bass during tonight's jam session, you have the context you need to accurately translate," according to Google.  

Enlarge Image

Lens can translate text in images.


This new feature will be available in the coming weeks in languages including English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.

If you use the Google Translate app on Android, you might have noticed the app has a new look after a recent update. Google said Wednesday that this redesign will roll out to Apple iOS users in the coming weeks too. 

The update will offer a larger space for typing out text, along with translation via voice input and Google Lens image recognition technology. The Lens app lets you search via what your phone's camera sees.

Google is also trying to make its visual translation tool, which relies on Lens, look more natural by blending translated text within an image. This is in addition to a recent update to web-based image translation that provides more options for translating image-based content, rather than just text-based content.