Sunday, January 25, 2015
The good folks in Mountain View, California have just updated Google Translate, creating a fantastic tool for foreign travelers and anyone struggling to learn a new language. Basically you speak into the mic...and the app speaks back in the language of your choice. For those of us who learn better visually than aurally, the app lets you see the translated phrase as well as hear it. The new update is for both Android and iOS.
"When talking with someone in an unfamiliar language, conversations can... get... realllllllly... sloowwww," Google says. "While we’ve had real-time conversation mode on Android since 2013, our new update makes the conversation flow faster and more naturally."
Once you've downloaded the update, go to Translate and tap the mic to start speaking in your selected language, then tap the mic again and the app will automatically recognize the language being spoken. For the rest of the conversation, you won’t need to tap the mic again—it'll be ready. Go for it! Now you can ask directions to the autoroute, tell the waiter that you're fromage intolerant and chat up anyone in French with relative ease....if you speak slowly and enunciate, of course.
The instant translation currently works for translation from English to and from French...plus German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. More languages are coming. Pretty soon you'll be able to communicate with just about anyone on earth...a fairly remarkable thought.
The Translate app has also been updated for written text. It already lets you use camera mode to snap a photo of text and get a translation for it in 36 languages...like a street sign, for instance, or a restaurant menu. But this new update lets you instantly translate text using your camera. While using the Translate app, just point your camera at a sign or text and you’ll see the translated text overlaid on your screen—even if you don't have an internet or data connection. You can also use your finger to highlight and then scan just the part of the text you want translated. I tried it and it works...but nowhere near as smoothly as the voice translator. The voice translator rocks!
Merci, Google! Now if only you could make an app to help me find my phone in the bottom of my handbag when I'm searching for a French phrase and need it right away...