Google is bringing a little bit of Google Translate into Google Maps as the company looks to help travelers better communicate their planned destination in dozens of local languages.

Google Maps is the de facto travel tool for millions of tourists, allowing them to not only research things to do nearby, but navigate their way there. But what if they want to explain a destination to a host, taxi driver, or passerby in a language they can’t even pronounce? And what if they have some follow-up questions that only local knowledge can help with?

This is the scenario Google is hoping to address by bringing “Google Maps and Google Translate closer together,” according to Google Maps product manager Laszlo de Brissac. Next to each place name will be a little speaker icon, which actions an automated voice into reading the information out aloud in the local tongue, with a separate option for the address specifically.

Moreover, the little pop-up dialog box also links directly through to Google Translate so the user can continue the conversation by translating a follow-up phrase, such as “thank you very much for your help.”

Above: Google Maps with Translate

Given the clear synergies between Maps and Translate, it’s perhaps surprising Google hasn’t created deeper integrations between these two products before. But over the next month, Google Maps users on both Android and iOS will be able to access this new feature in 50 languages, with more to come in the future.


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