New Google Docs for Android translates photos and images

Google announced the launch of a new Google Docs for Android app. Read the official Google announcement here. The most exciting feature in this new app: the ability to take photos and convert the image to text. Or in the words of the Google blog:

And my favorite feature: Using the app and your phone’s camera, you can turn photos with text into editable Google documents with the power of optical character recognition (OCR). Just create a new ‘Document from Photo’ or select the camera icon from the widget, and your converted document will appear in your documents list shortly after you snap the picture. You can also convert photos already stored on your phone by sharing them with the Google Docs app. OCR does a pretty good job capturing unformatted text in English but won’t recognize handwriting or some fonts – stay tuned, it will get better over time!

Now since Google Docs can translate documents, users will be able to take a photo of a road sign or a restaurant menu and translate it into another language. That’s a great feature for travelers to foreign countries. Word Lens, a company I have blogged about a few times already, has an augmented reality iPhone app which translates images to text.

New Cellphone speaks Yiddish

An Israeli cellular company, Partner (Orange), is launching a new cellphone which features a user interface in Yiddish. The phone, a touch screen Alcatel 710, is being marketed to the ultra-orthodox Hasidic community. Due to the stringent religious laws of this community which prohibits access to immodest sites, the phone will not allow access to the Internet or text messaging. The localization to Yiddish was done by the Israeli importer of Alcatel phones.

(source: TheMarker.com)

Alcatel 710

Alcatel 710

New release of GTS Translation #WordPress #Plugin adds Chinese, Swedish and Finnish

The latest release of the GTS Translation plugin (version 1.1.6) adds support of four new languages, bringing the total number of languages to 12: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Portuguese, Swedish, Hebrew and Finnish.

Our WordPress plugin is guaranteed to drive more international traffic to your site by providing high quality translation, and SEO of your translated content. Some of our customers have seen an increase of over 100% in traffic as a direct result of installing the plugin. To download the plugin, go to http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/gts-translation/

If you already have a previous release of the GTS Translation plugin you can upgrade to the new version from your WP Admin panel. Go to GTS Settings and check the languages you would like to add.

GTS Translation plugin language admin panel

More new languages coming soon!

We will be adding more languages in the next weeks so please check your GTS settings panel in WordPress. We will also announce the new languages on this blog and on Twitter.

Localization Settings

This is a new GTS admin panel which displays the WordPress localization settings. The plugin downloads .mo files from the official translation subversion repository.  Those files localize content produced by WP (e.g. the headings over the widgets like “Tags”, “Search”, etc.).  That page lets you see which version of the .mo file is in use because not every WP version has an official release in every language (or there’s a lag).

GTS Localization Settings

Bug Fixed

Please note that there was a bug in Version 1.1.5: spaces were not inserted after periods in Russian and Portuguese. Customers who installed the version 1.1.6 of the plugin on April 14 will have seen the same issue in Swedish and Finnish. That was corrected in version 1.1.6.

Voice-activated Google Translate arrives on your PC

Two months after launching a voice-activated Google Translate iPhone app, Google has brought the voice input feature to Google browsers. Thanks to its HTML Speech Input API, developers can provide the ability to transcribe voice to text. Google has added this capability to the latest releases of Chrome, such as Google Chrome 11 beta. When you go to Google Translate in Chrome, you can click the microphone icon and record the text you wish to translate.

Google Translation voice input

If the target language supports text-to-speech, then you can play back the translation as well. Which means that web applications that provide speech-to-speech translation are not only possible, but will most probably be available in the near future thanks to Google’s nifty APIs.

Currently, voice-recorded translation is only supported in English, so the microphone icon is only displayed when you select English as your source language. However, more voice input languages are sure to be added, since the Google Translate iPhone app supports voice activation in many other languages including French, German, Italian, Spanish and more.

Google Translation iPhone appI tested the new feature on Chrome and on the iPhone app. Both of them work reasonably well if you speak loudly, clearly and with no significant background noise. The iPhone app is magic and should prove to be a valuable asset on your foreign travels.

In other news, Google Translate blog reported today that it launched an update to Google Translate for Android that allows you to listen to translations in several more languages using text-to-speech. Funny that the Google Translate app for Android is lagging so far behind the iPhone app and does not feature voice activation. Is it because the iPhone has superior hardware?