Google Translate app does language translation of text photo images
Google has introduced the ability to translate pictures of words using optical character recognition (OCR) in its updated Google Translate Android app.
Back in April we brought you a story about Word Lens, an innovative mobile tool by Quest Visual that translates words inside of images in real-time without the need for an internet connection. Now it seems that Google is also getting into the act.
Google Translate has been providing language translations for years but its latest update to the Android application allows users to translate text that has been captured in a photograph. Google Translate uses the OCR found in its Google Goggles service to analyze pictures and translate text. The official Google Translate blog spells it out as follows:
"With our latest update to our Google Translate app for Android, we're aiming to get one step closer to the Babel fish. By integrating Google Goggles' optical character recognition (OCR) technology, we've made it possible for you to use the camera of your Android smartphone to input text without typing. This makes Google Translate for Android one of our most intelligent and machine learning-intensive apps. Speech recognition, handwriting recognition, OCR, and machine translation all rely on powerful statistical models built on billions of samples of data."
Google says that its OCR capabilities currently work for Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish, with more languages to be added.
Google likes to promote the service as a useful tool for those on vacation, but the problem with Google Translate, as with other on-demand services, is its need for an internet connection. Since data roaming rates are high, the service if used regularly could prove to be an expensive option. Oops.
Sounds like it might be better to stick with Word Lens for the time being, especially if you're looking to save money.
By Alex Dupont
Marketing Communications Specialist
Language Translation Inc.
New Google Translate for Android, Photo: Google.com/goggles