Google Translate now fits in your pocket

Google Translate is now iPhone optimized and the perfect tool for travelers who don't want to carry around phrase books.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
CNET Networks

Google has updated yet another one of its products to work better on Apple's iPhone. On Thursday the company launched a new version of its Translate service that lets anyone convert their native tongue into one of the other 23 available languages.

The service has been reworked mainly to appeal to travelers who don't want to carry around phrase books and have their mobile phones with them anyway. In a post about the update, Google software engineer Allen Hutchison notes that the tool uses as minimal an amount of data as possible, so it won't break the bank while you're abroad and incur massive data roaming charges from your carrier. Hutchison says the general number of translations is anywhere between 200-400 per 1MB of data, which is quite a few considering data can cost you at least $0.005 per KB while abroad (depending your carrier).

The tool also keeps track of all your previous entries, so each time you come back to the page, your past translations will be there. You can get it to go back and re-translate them all to another language without getting rid of the old ones.

Also, in case you're trying to use it as a tool to communicate with someone else (without slaughtering any pronunciations) you can reverse the two languages on the fly, letting someone else type using their own language as long as it matches your phone's selected character set.

Still missing from the mobile version of Translate is the site translator and the dictionary utility that pulls up full word definitions and commonly used phrases that surround them, the former being useful for hitting local hotel or attraction sites while out on the go.