Each week, we spotlight a cool innovation recommended by some of the industry's top tech writers. This week's pick is a virtual translator.

Google's new "interpreter mode" makes it easier to strike up a conversation abroad, said Julian Chokkattu at Wired. The company has "updated Google Assistant so that it supports translating languages in real time" on your phone. That means that if you're traveling in a foreign country, "just say 'Hey Google, be my [insert language here] translator' and point your phone at the person you're talking to."

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The phone will automatically recite the translation aloud or type it out on screen. There's no need to open an app — although an internet connection is required, which can be an issue when traveling. The technology isn't perfect; "the whole experience isn't speedy enough to sound like a normal conversation," but the delay is only a second or two. The function currently supports 44 languages.