Google Translate: An Easy Way to Speak to the World
Did you know that you can use the Google Translate app to instantly and visually translate printed text while walking down the street in a foreign country? Open the app, click on the camera, and point it at the text you need to translate, such as a street sign or an ingredient list. You can use this app to translate an instruction manual, dials on a washing machine, and much more. No Internet connection or cell phone data is needed.
In 2014, Google launched this app with only seven languages – English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Today you can translate to and from Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian and other languages. In addition to instant visual translation, there is a voice conversation mode, enabling real-time translation of conversations across dozens of languages.
How exactly did Google get so many new languages running on a device with no data connection? It’s all about convolutional neural networks. This App works with both Android and iOS.
Google still has lots of work to do, but Translate Community, a place for multilingual people from anywhere in the world to provide and correct translations, helps Google to improve every day, and Google is also continuously working to improve the quality of the translations themselves and to add new languages.
Some Other Translator Apps
iTranslate: This app is very easy to use. iTranslate consists of one menu in which the user can choose form over ninety languages and then plug in a word or phrase. The user can then share the newly translated work in a text message, email or on Facebook so you won’t lose track of it. If you are worried about the pronunciation, the app will say it out loud for you. Sometimes spelling can be tricky so the app works to predict what you’re trying to type. There is a free version and a premium version, which allows the user to use voice commands, get rid of ads and the ability to use longer texts. However for quick phrases while traveling or a refresher while learning a language, the free version is perfect.
Waygo: This app can help people who study Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Drawing a character is not easy to do with your finger on a phone screen, so the app accounts for that by allowing you to take a photo of something you don’t understand. Switch the camera from horizontal to vertical to accommodate anything and use the built-in flash to make translating in a dark restaurant easier. Users can also pull images from their photo library. It’s a good idea to save your translations because you only get 10 free per month.