Google Translate

Google has updated its Google Translate application to give users visual translations for 27 languages. Google claims that the updated application makes real-time voice translations faster and smoother. Basically, visual translations translate the text a user inputs through the camera. For example, by opening the translate application, users can click on the camera and point it at street sign, ingredient list, instruction manual etc. to translate into the language of their choice.

Google began visual translations in January this year with seven languages – English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Google claims that the updated app can also do one-way translations from English to Hindi and Thai and two-way translations for Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian.

The application does not need an internet connection to work but users will have to download a language pack for each language for it to work. Google says that it was able to get the visual translations via convolutional neural network which is widely used in image and video recognition. Read more about it on Google’s Research blog.

Voice translations: Google says that the updated application has improved the voice conversation mode and is now applicable to translation of conversations across 32 languages. The updates will be coming to both Android and iOS over the next few days.

This, Google says, has been possible because of the efforts of the Translate Community, who have volunteered time to help with cross-language communication. Members can choose to either see a phrase and translate it on their own or correct current translations already in the system. Based on these translations, Google incorporates corrections into the system and learn the nuances of the language.

Other Indic language translation updates from Google 

– In April, Google came out with a new application called Google Handwriting Input which allowed users to input in 82 languages and also allows users to draw emojis. Google said in its blog that for complex script languages, especially in South Asian languages, the keyboard was less standardized and could be unfamiliar.

–  In January, Google introduced turn-by-turn navigation and voice guided instructions in Hindi, which could be set as the preferred language within the “Language and input” menu. Interestingly, there is now also an English (India) option, that will provide voice-guided instructions in Indian English accent.

– In December 2014, Google announced that its Google Display Network now supports Hindi ads. This means that advertisers can build campaigns targeting Hindi language sites, using text, image, rich media and video display ad formats, for users who have Hindi as their language for Google products or visit sites on the Google Display Network.

– In the same month, Google Translate added support for Malayalam as a part of its update along with nine other languages including Sinhala, Sudanese, Myanmar, Kazakh, Tajik, Uzbek, Chichewa, Sesotho and Malagasy.