Google Translate Word Lens and live translation hands-on

Chris Burns - Jan 14, 2015, 1:41 pm CST
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Google Translate Word Lens and live translation hands-on

The team behind the Google Translate app have successfully created a tool that I can take to Spain to figure out where to find pizza without menu photos of said pizza. Thank you, Google Translate team. Today we’re seeing an update to the Google Translate app for iOS, and an imminent update to the Android version of the app as well. With this update we’ll see more solid live voice translation. We’ll also see real-deal live translations of text – that’s the magic-maker.

First what you’re going to see is us having a chat with the translator on an NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet. Here we’re able to speak (slightly slowly and slightly more clear than normal) to the device to receive near-instant results.

Heading to a Spanish-speaking restaurant is about to get a whole lot easier – for non-Spanish-speaking me, that is to say.

You’ll also see some live writing translation as well. Just so long as it doesn’t repeat itself multiple times, this service also works fairly well.

Below you’ll see the iPhone interface on the updated app working with live sign translation. To make this work, you’re going to need to hold your device very, very still. When you do hold your phone still – super extremely still – you’ll see near-perfect translation happen instantly.

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It’s a bit mind-boggling when you first see the translation happen in real time. The words appear in black over yellow in this case because the sign we’re translating is yellow with black writing.

This app attempts to replicate the colors its translating to make the translation process as easy to work with for the user as possible.

For those of you attempting to use this app with your Android device, you’ll have to wait until later today or later this week. If you’re rolling with an iOS device – iPad or iPhone – you’ll be able to update your Google Translate app and make use of these services immediately.


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