Real time translation, the kind we imagined in science fiction is finally within reach. Google Translate [iTunes link] can handle dozens of languages and will understand and return text and audio translations in real time. The updated app also adds the augmented-reality translation tool Word Lens.
Like Skype Translator Preview. Google Translate [iTunes link] can handle dozens of languages and will understand and return text and audio translations in real time. Unlike the Microsoft product, Google Translate is not a preview and anyone with an iPhone (iOS 7.0 or higher and Android 2.3 or later) can download and use it today. The updated app also adds the augmented-reality translation tool Word Lens.
The best way to describe how Word Lens works is “magic.” First introduced in 2010 and bought by Google in 2014, the app uses your phone’s camera to instantly transform foreign-language signs into the language of your choice. And instead of just spitting out dull text below the sign, World Lens uses augmented reality to overlay the translated text, almost perfectly matching the design and layout of the original sign.
It’s worth noting that while Word Lens doens’t need an Internet Connection, live audio translation does. On ocassion, my phone couldn’t find the Google servers and translation services failed. Other times, it seemed to take a while to talk to the server and return an accurate translation. In many of the conversations I had through Google Translate, people enjoyed trying out profanity. Google Translate did an admirable job of understanding and then saying the epitaphs. You can, if you choose, turn on a profanity filter.
Overall, we were impressed with the experience and I could imagine being in France or Turkey with only this app as my personal interpreter. I know I’d be able to read the street signs and, thanks to Google Translate, I’d be able to get the gist of what Turkish speakers were saying to me and they might be able to understand me, as well. Read more…