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Google Translate App Translates Text with Camera

 By: Nick Gambino 

With Google Translate’s newest update users can now translate from Japanese to English with a simple point of the camera.

Before this new feature was introduced you were able to take a photo of Japanese text and translate it from there but now they’ve removed one step from the equation allowing for real-time translations.

Using Google’s Word Lens technology this feature works perfectly for translating menus, signs, simple text, etc. All you have to do is open the app, point the camera at the text and watch as the English text appears.

Now obviously this wouldn’t work for any verbal translation if you find yourself trying to navigate through conversations in Japan or Little Tokyo. But for the casual tourist trying to decide what you want to eat or which way to go, this app is incredibly handy.

The app also works for English to Japanese translations for anyone visiting the U.S. who needs some extra help. (Sorry, translating a NYC Subway map won’t make it any less confusing.)

One of the most impressive aspects is its offline function. After downloading a relatively small file you’ll be able to take advantage of this full feature whether you have an internet connection or not. This is particularly useful if you’re traveling abroad and haven’t yet figured out how to activate your data plan.

This is one of the major updates since Google acquired Word Lens from Quest Visual in 2014 and incorporated its tech directly into the Translate app. We should expect to see many other supported languages in the not-too-distant future as this function proves successful and popular.

Spanish to English I would think would have more application in the U.S. so might be a smart next option for release.

The Google Translate app and its new feature is available for both Android and iOS devices.

What do you think of Google Translate’s newest update that allows for real-time Japanese-to-English translation? Let us know in the comments below!


Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.

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