Google Translate just became even more useful for travelers and anyone needing to communicate across language barriers, thanks to a significant update. With the addition of 110 new languages powered by its AI PaLM 2 large language model (LLM), Google Translate now supports nearly 250 languages. This expansion means you can connect with approximately 614 million more people worldwide. This follows a previous update in 2022, which added 24 languages, including several Indigenous languages of the Americas and languages spoken across Africa and Central Asia.

Many of the newly added languages are lesser-known, spoken by small communities or lacking native speakers altogether. However, some notable additions include widely recognized languages such as Cantonese and Punjabi (Shahmukhi). Cantonese, predominantly spoken in southeastern China, Hong Kong, Macau, and various global communities, poses a unique challenge for language models due to its significant overlap with Mandarin. Punjabi (Shahmukhi), the most spoken language in Pakistan, is also now supported.

A significant portion of the new languages comes from Africa, including Afar (spoken in Djibouti, Eritrea, and Ethiopia) and Tamazight (Amazigh), a Berber language used across North Africa. Other African languages added include NKo, Fon, Kikongo, Luo, Ga, Swati, Venda, and Wolof, reflecting the continent’s rich linguistic diversity.

The update also features Manx, a Celtic language from the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. Manx nearly went extinct when its last native speaker died in 1974. However, revitalization efforts have led to a resurgence, with a small number of first-language speakers and a couple of thousand second-language speakers now using Manx.

Additional languages in the update include Portuguese (Portugal), Tongan, Tibetan, Tahitian, Venetian, Sicilian, Fijian, and Jamaican Patois, further broadening the tool’s global reach.

Google Translate, available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, continues to be a versatile tool. It can translate pasted text, text in photos, voice input, and even handwritten characters, making it an indispensable app for multilingual communication.