Google Maps translation tools aim to help travelers in foreign countries

The app will help you pronounce the name of a city or place you don't know.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva

Google is bringing new translation tools to the Maps app.


Google says it wants to help people when they're traveling in other countries and don't know the language very well. The search giant on Wednesday announced features that bring the company's popular Maps and Translate apps closer together. 

You can hear the pronunciation of cities in other languages.


One new tool lets people hear the correct pronunciation of places they might not know because they don't know how to read or speak the language. The idea is to be able to say the word well enough to ask for directions or tell a taxi driver where to go. 

To use the feature, you can click on the speaker icon next to a place name, and the app will say the name out loud. Another new tool lets you switch more easily between the Maps and Translate apps. Google said the tools are coming to both iPhones and Android phones over the next month.

The new tools come as Google has made a bigger investment in translation features. Earlier this year, the company announced an interpreter mode for the Google Assistant, the search giant's digital helper software. The tool lets two people speaking different languages have a conversation using real-time translations. 

Google has also tried to make its Maps app more useful to travelers. In August, the company announced tools to let people pull up their travel reservations, like flight and hotel bookings, so they don't have to leave the app while they're navigating to a new destination.