Google on Wednesday updated its Google Translate app for Android with offline support and vertical text translation. You can download the new version now directly from the Google Play Store.

The offline language packages include support for 50 languages. To use them, just select “Offline Languages” in the app menu to see all the offline language packages available for download. To enable offline translation between any two languages, you need to select them both in the offline languages menu.

base64334acdc92f0ed5b6 730x430 Google Translate for Android gets 50 language packages for offline translation on Gingerbread and up

The addition of offline support is a very big move from a company like Google which is obsessed with online services and moving everything to the Web. For that reason alone it’s great to see the company a move that goes against its very DNA. Google admits the “offline models are less comprehensive than their online equivalents” but still says they get the job done “when you are traveling abroad with poor reception or without mobile data access.”

Many users have Internet access when they need to translate something, but it’s hardly a guarantee. If you’re traveling with your phone or tablet and need to figure out what something means on the go, you can now refer to your Google Translate app and get an answer without worrying about finding a Wi-Fi hotspot.

google translate android 730x432 Google Translate for Android gets 50 language packages for offline translation on Gingerbread and up

It’s also great to see Google supporting Gingerbread in this release, though Froyo has been notably dropped (it was supported in the last Gmail update). Still, with more than 40 percent of Android users on version 2.3, Google doesn’t really have a choice but to keep supporting Gingerbread.

Last but not least for this version, Google has added vertical text support when taking pictures with your camera of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Those languages were added in the last release late last year, but only for horizontal text.

Here’s the official Google Translate 2.6 for Android changelog:

  • Translate without a network connection with offline language packages (available on Android 2.3 and above).
  • Translate vertical text in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean with your Camera.

We’ll keep you posted when Google brings offline support to iOS.

Top Image Credit: Dog Madic