Wouldn't it be nice to pick up your smartphone, press a button, point it to a sign when you are abroad and have your intrepid device translate it for you in your native tongue?
Well, now you can. The boffins at Google have upgraded their already powerful Translate app to do just that.
Writing in an official blog recently, Barak Turovsky, product lead at Google Translate, explained that one of the most awkward – if not difficult – aspects of travelling is figuring out the local language.
Sure, you can prepare beforehand, learn some stock phrases, but there are, on occasion, situations that kind of leave you in a pickle.
"If you've ever asked for 'pain' in Paris and gotten funny looks, confused 'embarazada' with 'embarrassed' in Mexico, or stumbled over pronunciation pretty much anywhere, you know the feeling," he said.
"Now Google Translate can be your guide in new ways. We’ve updated the Translate app on Android and iOS to transform your mobile device into an even more powerful translation tool."
One of these key developments is Word Lens, which pretty much does as its name says. You enter into camera mode, select Translate, and as we mentioned in the intro, the sophisticated technology quickly translates the language.
The great thing about this is that it saves you time when out and about abroad, be it working out what a sign means when you're lost or figuring out what the dishes actually are instead of second-guessing.
Another improvement can be seen in the apps ability to help users have a conversation with a foreigner in real time in a faster, more natural way.
"Simply tap the mic to start speaking in a selected language, then tap the mic again, and the Google Translate app will automatically recognise which of the two languages are being spoken, letting you have a more fluid conversation," Mr Turovsky said.
"For the rest of the conversation, you won’t need to tap the mic again—it'll be ready as you need it. Asking for directions to the Rive Gauche, ordering bacalhau in Lisbon, or chatting with your grandmother in her native Spanish just got a lot faster."