Using Google Translate(s goog) just became much easier for travelers having a hard time finding internet access while abroad: Google announced the addition of offline language support for the Android application. Fifty languages gain the offline support, which does need to be first enabled while online. After that, however, no web connection is needed to use the translation program.
Google says the offline translation dictionaries found in the new version “are less comprehensive than their online equivalents” but that’s a small price to pay. And in the future, I could see the offline language data grow in scope as flash storage decreases in cost while expanding in capacity.
While the new feature is handy in areas with limited data coverage, I see the biggest use case for travelers. Often finding, paying for and configuring connectivity on a smartphone can be challenging in another country; particularly for users based in the U.S.
By pre-installing the proper offline language packs, you can be chatting and translating right away upon arriving in a new land. The limited translations should get you communicating until you can find a persistent connection and then you can use the app’s full online capabilities.