Google Feb. 8 introduced Google Translate for iPhone, a free native application that Apple handset owners can use to help them translate a word or phrase from more than 50 languages.
The app is the latest in a handful of mobile applications Google has released in the last several months to reside on Apple’s popular iPhone as a native app rather than a Web application that lives in Google’s cloud computing environment.
The new iPhone app, available from Apple’s App Store for iPhone or iPod Touch Version 3 or later, offers all of the features of the HTML5 iPhone Web app Google launched in August 2008.
For example, Google Translate for iPhone lets users view dictionary results for single words, and access starred translations and translation history offline. There is also support for romanized text.
But the native app sports some improvements to the user experience the Web app lacks.
The new app, which accepts voice input for 15 languages, leverages Google’s speech synthesizer technology to let users hear their translations spoken out loud in one of 23 different languages.
Google Translate for iPhone also lets users blow up any translated text to fit the full screen, making it easier to read and share with others. Users will tap the zoom icon to access this feature.
The iPhone program comes three weeks after Google revised its Google Translate for Android application, adding a Conversation Mode.
Google has been on a native iPhone application tear in an effort to make sure its apps and advertising surface on the country’s singularly most popular smartphone.
Working backward chronologically, the search engine has launched native apps for Google Shopper, Google Places, Google Latitude, Google Voice and Google Goggles.