New WeChat feature lets you scan and translate text on the fly

WeChat recently released a slew of updates, including a few major changesChina’s most popular social platform started its global expansion a long time ago and a new feature is giving us another hint of its ambition: AR-based real-time translation.

After updating to version 6.6.7, the new feature can be accessed from the scan feature in the upright corner, which previously was one of the important entrance for WeChat users to launch the QR code scanner. Now this entrance connects one more feature – translation, by capturing an image of almost anything with either Chinese or English texts in it.

This camera-based translation function currently only supports translations between two languages, Chinese and English. How it works is pretty similar to the Waygo app: simply point and translate. The Waygo app was invented to help non-Chinese translate food menus and signages. 

Here are two images to compare the original copy and the translated article in Chinese. The translation accuracy is so-so with a couple of sentences missing from the original image.

And an example from Chinese to English:

With this new feature available, it will help WeChat to better acquire users like international travelers to China or better assist Chinese travelers who visit the rest of the world. And given that WeChat made this feature accessible from one of its often used entrance, it leaves great room for imagining the potential this feature will bring.

Google Translate added the augmented reality into its app and now support 30 languages in its world-lens feature.