Google has announced an upgraded version of the Google Translate App that will now allow instant visual translations of printed text in multiple languages including Hindi. Users will need to simply open the app, click on the camera, and point it at the text they need translated. It could be anything – a street sign, a hoarding, an ingredient list, an instruction manual, dials on a washing machine or text from a newspaper or book. Users will instantly see the text transform live on their screens into their preferred language. No Internet connection or cell phone data is required. Google made use of convolutional neural networks to help develop this technology.
Google is also updating the Google Translate app — expanding the instant visual translation to 20 additional languages (making for a total of 27 languages), and making real-time voice translations a lot faster and smoother—so even more people can experience the world in their language. The original seven languages are English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Today Google has added 20 more. Users can now translate to and from English and Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian. Also users can now translate English printed text into Hindi and Thai.
Barak Turovsky, Product Lead, Google Translate said in a blog post, “More than half of the content on the Internet is in English, but only around 20% of the world’s population speaks English. The Google Translate App will knock down a few more language barriers, helping users communicate better and get the information they need, real time and without a data connection. In addition, users can also try snapping a pic of the text they would like translated — the Google Translate app has a total of 37 languages in camera mode. We’re very excited about how the Google Translate App being used in India which is fast transforming into a mobile first community of internet users and where, equally importantly, the next billion people are now crossing the digital divide.”
He further added, “ We’re also continuously working to improve the quality of the translations themselves and to add new languages. A year ago this week, we launched Translate Community, a place for multilingual people from anywhere in the world to provide and correct translations. Thanks to the millions of language lovers who have already pitched in—more than 100 million words so far!—we’ve been updating our translations for over 90 language pairs, and plan to update many more as our community grows.”
To try out the new languages, go to the Google Translate app, set “English” along with the language you’d like to translate, and click the camera button; users will be prompted to download a small (~2 MB) language pack for each.
These updates are coming to both Android and iOS, rolling out over the next few days.