If you frequently travel, the application we’re about to tell you about may pique your interest. Word Lens is an application developed by Quest Visual that uses your iPhone’s camera to translate text from one language to another on the fly. Try to envision what would happen if Yelp’s “Monocle” feature were to be mashed together with Google Translate. Launch the application, aim your iPhone’s camera as some text, and the translation is done on the fly without a network connection. Currently, the app can only translate from Spanish to English (or vice versa), but Quest Visual is promising that more language packs are on the way. The application is “free” to download, but each language pack must be purchased within the app for $4.99. We downloaded the app along with the Spanish to English pack and let it loose on our Spanish dictionary, and… we’re impressed. We also wish we had this application while taking high school Spanish. Seeing is believing, hit the jump to watch a short demo video the company put together.
If you’re proficient in Russian, Polish, Czech, or Turkish, and want to search the web in one of the aforementioned tongues, Google has got you covered. Recently, the company announced the addition of the four languages to its Voice Search functionality. “Try speaking queries like ‘концерты Юлии Савичевой’ (tour dates for Yulia Svicheva), ‘przepis na pierogi’ (recipes for pierogi), ‘obrázky Hradčan’ (pictures of the Prague castle), or ‘istanbul hava durumu’ (weather in Istanbul),” quips Google. The service is available on all smartphone platforms that support Google’s Voice search. пользоваться, cieszyć się, nyní, and zevk. More →
UK-based Times Online is reporting that Google is developing a mobile phone service that will have the ability to translate speech, from one language to another, on the fly. Google’s hoping to build off of their text-to-text translation engine — which is currently capable of translating 52 languages — and voice search technologies. “We think speech-to-speech translation should be possible and work reasonably well in a few years’ time,” said Google’s chief of translation services. Industry experts remain skeptical, however, about the proposed timetable, “The problem with speech recognition is the variability in accents. No system at the moment can handle that properly,” said David Crystal, professor of Linguistics at Bangor University. “Maybe Google will be able to get there faster than everyone else, but I think it’s unlikely we’ll have a speech device in the next few years that could handle high-speed Glaswegian slang.” It certainly is an aggressive goal, and one we are pretty excited about. We’ll stay on top of this story and report back as more becomes available. More →