Google Android app translates photos

Google Translate for Android, today available as v2.5, packs some smoking new features: voice-to-text and text-to-voice translation in more than 64 languages and -- get this -- photos.

New features to this version include live/instant language translation results as you type. Allowing you to get the translated text sooner. For people who use the speech-to-translation option, you can now choose your dialect preference for your speech/voice input. For Japanese language users there is now support for handwriting multiple characters at once, allowing for words to quickly be written in for both travelers and native Japanese people.

The app has also been given permission to check network availability when sending requests. Making sure that the network is there before it sends your text to be translated by the Google Translate service in the cloud.

But the biggest new feature is that of in app picture text translation. The app now has an added button at the bottom showing the Android camera icon. You can now take pictures of signs and billboards, and with a highlight of the particular text you want translated you will get the text translation in the top of the app window. The photo translation feature requires phones with Android 2.3 and above. Etienne Deguine, Google Translate associate product manager, explains:

By integrating Google Goggles’ optical character recognition 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.

Obviously influenced by the late science fiction author Douglas Adams, the Google Translate team is really making the mobile Google Translate app a must have for all people with Android phones. The only downside to Google Translate is the app requires an Internet connection to work. The app is available now from Google Play.

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