Babel Not. The tourism experience, in theory, is fun. The interaction experience with people who speak another language, in theory, is enriching. In theory.
In 2013 we are still smarting from the slings and arrows of a Babel misfortune, where food-ordering in foreign lands turns out to be a strangled exchange with a patience-limited waiter who really does not want to take a dish back to the kitchen for the third time. Google, that empire of global search, driverless cars, and major operating systems appears to get it. Out to connect the world with balloons in Project Loon, the company is also out to connect the world by breaking through the Tower of Babel.
The Google Translate app for Android this week opens more doors for people not only to understand each other but to chat with each other. This week, Google is rolling out the revised app that the company claims will allow people to converse in different languages.
This is an update for its Android app, intended for users. People who speak different languages can make use of the revised Google Translate for Android to carry on translated conversations realtime.
Back and Forth
Google Translate for Android on a mobile device offers the following features: The ability to translate text among more than 70 languages; to listen to the translations spoken aloud, to directly translate speech, handwriting, and text in photos; to save translations and sync them across devices; to get dictionary results for single words or phrases; to translate without a network connection with offline language packages. The update is available for devices running Android 2.3 and above.
Of all features, the one drawing the most buzz is the ability to quickly translate sentences in conversations so that you can have a realtime back-and-forth conversation by opening the Translate app and touching the microphone icon. With a simple turn of the screen, you can switch back and forth between languages.
Matthew Gaba, a Google product manager, wrote in a blog post, “hopefully communication can become a whole lot easier with the launch of the new Google Translate app for Android. The app now features faster speech translation, additional language support, and a sleek new look.”
The revision also features more support in handwriting recognition, allowing you, in using the handwriting icon, to directly write words in Hebrew, Greek, Javanese, and Esperanto on the mobile screen, for translations on the fly. (When the handwriting feature in Google Translate for Android was first announced last year, it launched as an experimental feature available in Chinese and Japanese. Google at the time only supported single-character input for Chinese and Japanese.)
Another strong feature in the update is additional support with Its built-in camera, which can now decipher text in Malay and Ukrainian. (This is the tool where the user can use an Android phone to take a photo of written text and highlight which words the user wants to be translated.)
Google Translate for Android made its first debut in January 2010.