Google introduces live camera translation for Irish language

11 Jul 2019

A road sign in Connemara, a region of Ireland where Irish is the primary language. Image: © graphic@jet/

Google’s latest update of live translation has also added an ‘auto detect’ feature, which will determine what language you’re actually looking at, when you’re not entirely sure.

Since Google Translate was launched in 2006, it has been an extremely useful resource for students, workers, tourists, readers, immigrants and of course, bored and/or curious individuals.

In recent years, the Google Translate app added a live camera translation function, which allowed users to instantly make sense of signs, menus and other foreign language text with their smartphone camera.

Up until today (11 July), this feature could be used to translate 40 common languages into English. From now on, the live camera translation function is available in 89 languages, including Irish. The app can now translate these languages into more than 100 languages, rather than just English.

Google’s Neural Machine Translation system has been built into instant camera translations, which produces more accurate and natural translations, while reducing errors from 55pc to 85pc in certain language pairs.

In a very wise move, Google will allow users to download these languages to their devices, so that the feature can be used without an internet connection. While that could help in an emergency or awkward situation, the translations offered online are apparently of higher quality.

Google’s latest update of the feature has also added an ‘auto detect’ feature, which will determine what language you’re actually looking at when you’re not entirely sure. The app has been redesigned to coincide with the launch of these new features, and features some under-the-hood improvements too.

This news means that Irish can now be translated into German or Japanese instantly, which will not only be very useful for tourists and immigrants spending time in Ireland, but for Irish people who want to improve their hold on the Irish language too.

Some of the other languages which are newly supported by Google Translate’s instant camera translation feature include Catalan, Yoruba, Igbo, Maori, Welsh and Haitian Creole. You can see a full list of the 89 languages here.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic