When many of us first moved to Wuhan we used up all our available phone memory downloading every recommended app under the sun. Among these apps were at least half a dozen translation apps. At times they have been incredibly useful, like the time I successfully organized for IKEA purchases to be delivered to my apartment. Then there have been the times that haven’t been so successful, like when I tried to figure out what kind of meat the mince was that was being sold in Walmart. According to my translation app, it was PEOPLE!
Cannibalism aside, access to real-time translation is invaluable when navigating China and now that feature is available in version 6.6.7 of WeChat!
Seriously, what can’t WeChat do!? Well, actually, that being said, this feature is currently only available on iOS, and it is not yet known when it will be available on Android. If the developers at WeChat are anything like my patient Mum, I imagine their response to persistent questions of ‘but when!?’ would be ‘soon Darling, soon’.
The real-time translation function is accessed through the Scan function (top right + in WeChat Chats/home page). You know, the one you use to scan QR codes? Now when you open this function, at the bottom of the screen is the option to Scan or Translate. Select Translate, point your camera at the text or choose an existing image or screenshot from your gallery and like magic Chinese becomes English!
Even tiny Chinese characters can be translated.
If your surroundings get a bit dark, the translation function allows you to turn on your phone’s flashlight.
You can also translate English to Chinese!
Currently there is only the option to translate from English to Chinese and Chinese to English, but ‘soon Darling, soon’ more languages might be added.