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Handwriting on the Wall for Google Translate 2.0
September 25, 2013 - By: - In: In the News / Awards, Interpretation, Language, Translation - Comments Off on Handwriting on the Wall for Google Translate 2.0

Google Translate 2.0 is a long-overdue re-do of Google Translate, now primed for the slick, new Apple interface on iPhone and iPad.

The language list continues to grow with an additional seven languages including Bosnian, Cebuano, Hmong, Javanese, Khmer, Lao and Marathi, and the endless pull-down list of over 70 languages that goes with it.

The coolest feature of all:  handwriting recognition. Users can now write words with their fingers to enter text in 49 languages, including Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

I’ve tested all three and found it amazingly accurate. My handwriting in those languages would confound most native speakers, but the Google engines were able to read my finger scrawling with remarkable accuracy.

Emil Protalinski of The Next Web has taken the GT 2.0 through the paces (with much neater handwriting) to illustrate a couple of user scenarios.

The left screenshot shows Google Translate when you’re in Kyoto and want to learn more about an exotic flower arrangement, so you use text-input to type in your question and translate from English to Japanese (and even hear it spoken back to you). The middle screenshot is for when two individuals want to take turns tapping the microphone to translate between French and Spanish. The right screenshot is for when an expat living in China wants to know what’s on the menu and uses the Handwrite feature to figure it out.

I’ve been intrigued with typing alternatives for iPads ever since I greased up my first tablet screen with my doughnut-dusted fingers a few years ago. My daughter just turned me on to Notability, a note-taking app for Apple’s iOS 7.  It’s a very interesting way to record information, but I got to upgrade to a stylus from my  fingertips to truly evaluate.

The text recognition for Google Translate is really impressive, and this app’s easy and immediately useful to me.  I’d love to hear some real-life usage stories for this interesting new interface.


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