Google has introduced a new feature which allows Android users to translate text inside any app using Google Translate.

In order to use the new function you simply have to highlight the text in the app of your choice. The new feature, known as Tap to Translate, makes translating text a doddle.

Google Translate Android

New functionality for Google Translate

Tap to Translate arrived in an update to Google Translate for Android on Wednesday. Translate will now automatically appear inside other apps when you highlight text in a foreign language.

After you do so a small Translate icon will pop up, which you then tap to see a translation. The icon looks sort of like Facebook’s chat heads, and will also let you translate text from your first language to the foreign language as you read.

Tap to Translate will make translating foreign languages very easy indeed. It looks set to save people hassle, whether they translate on a regular basis or only on rare occasions.

Tap to Translate works inside any app

According to Google the new feature will work inside any app, including messenger services and web browsers. Now you can chat with people from around the world and enjoy an instant translation, or find information on specific subjects on foreign language websites.

Microsoft already introduced a very similar feature to its Android translation app in April. However the translate option is in the same menu as the cut/copy/paste options. This could either mean that Microsoft’s option is less intrusive, or less convenient to use, depending on your point of view.

Google has also made a few other changes to Google Translate as well. iOS users will get an offline mode, with each offline language needing 25MB of storage space, which is a fairly small amount.

Both iOS and Android users will now have support for Chinese inside the Word Lens feature, which lets you point your camera at printed text before your phone displays an augmented translation.

The feature sounds amazing, and it is. However users have reported that so far it only works inconsistently, and it has left many Google Translate users frustrated.