OREANDA-NEWS. February 22, 2016. Released Thursday, the version of Microsoft Translator for the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch now includes optical character recognition, or OCR. That means the app can translate text that's in an image. You could use your iPhone to snap a photo of a sign or menu, and the app would overlay a translation of the text.

On-the-go translation via mobile app has been catching on as a helpful service for travelers and others. Google has been the leader so far, through its website and mobile app. Microsoft needs to show it can do more than play second fiddle to Google if it wants its own app to grab more users.

The version of Microsoft Translator for Android devices also has a new feature. As of Wednesday, you can use it even when you're not connected to the Internet, thanks to downloadable language packs. That could be useful in a foreign location where Internet access is slow, spotty or nonexistent, either through Wi-Fi or cellular.

You simply go to the App menu and tap on the option for Offline Languages; then download the source and target languages. Support for offline languages is limited to English and the following: Chinese Simplified, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.