Going abroad can be an amazing experience, especially if you speak the native language. Google translate is a good smartphone app to use. Available on both android and IOS operating systems at no charge, Google Translate can convert voice to text, text to voice, and even translate the written word using the camera lens on your smartphone!

In Google’s official blog they explain how they integrated an app called Word Lens as a feature in their app.  You simply choose a language, select camera, hold your phone over a written text, and the screen translates it visually, absolutely amazing and useful for menus, directions, health records and more. Google lens started out with seven languages, English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Italian. As of April 2016, it is now available in 27 different languages – Internet is not required for Google lens.  

To use Google Translate’s Lens feature you will need to download the Google Translate app and then the language you want to convert to. Open the Google Translate app, set your language to ‘English’ then the language you want to translate from.

Google Translate also converts voice to text in English and the foreign language selected.   The Official Google Blog says, “In addition to instant visual translation, we’ve also improved our voice conversation mode (enabling real-time translation of conversations across 32 languages), so it’s even faster and more natural on slow networks.” If the area you have has unreliable services, no problem according to Google’s Official Blog. This feature can even work on a slow network.

Google’s Translate app also allows its users to type in a word, versus speaking it.  The typed word will also be translated.  You can even use your finger and write it in cursive.  How cool is that?  You can opt to have the word spoken for the user. These features are available in over 100 languages. Exotic alphabets like Japanese, Chinese or Korean are not currently available.

On top of these updates, the Official Google Blog says they are working on making their translations even better by opening the “Translate Community”. This allows bilingual people to go in and correct and add different words in the languages provided.

Every app has some inaccuracy.  If you are in a bind and need to communicate, Google translate may be the ticket to conversing and getting the help you need.  VentureBeat.com, says Google Translates inaccuracy could be improving soon.

VentureBeat explains, “Google has smartened up several of its products with a type of artificial intelligence called deep learning, which involves training neural networks on lots of data and then having them make predictions about new data.” Google maps, photos, and gmail already have this artificial intelligence. The Google Translate Lens’ feature  already has deep learning –  instant visual translation.

According to VentureBeat, “If you use Google Translate to just translate text, you know the service isn’t always 100 percent accurate.” Google is working on integrating deep learning into the entire Google Translate app in the near future.

Check out Google’s Translate Features.

Google Translate is one of the best translation apps available according to Telegraph.co.uk, In the top five categories are:

  1. Google Translate, Lens & Text, Free
  2. ITranslate, Voice to Text, ~$7, in app purchases.
    I Translate can translate 80 different languages. This app can also save phrases for later. It offers pronunciation in three different languages. Internet connection is required to use this app.  
  3. WayGo Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Uses Lens, 1 Day Free, ~$5, in app purchases.
    Visual translate in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. WayGo is working on Western languages. Users get ten free translations per day unless the unlimited translation version is purchased. Internet is not required to use WayGo.
  4. SMS Android Translator, Text, Free
    SMS translator is free for android users allowing text language conversions. According to Telegraph all users have to do to use this feature is test in English, add the correspondent’s phone number, tap translate and hit send.” Replies are then translated into English.
  5. ITranslate Voice 2, Voice to Text, 40 Languages, in app purchases.
    All the users need to do is talk into the iPhone or iPad mic.  The app will translate what is said.

Whether Google Translate is the app for you, or you choose a different one, it is important to be able to read, speak and comprehend the native language of the country you are in. Google Translate and other apps can help with language barriers.
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