SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Google has introduced the ability to translate pictures of words, that is, optical character recognition (OCR) in its updated Google Translate Android application.
Google Translate has been translating text from one language to another for years but the firm's latest update to the Android application allows users to translate text that has been captured in a photograph. The firm said Google Translate uses the OCR found in its Google Goggles service to analyse pictures and translate text.
Etienne Deguine, associate product manager for Google Translate said, "This makes Google Translate for Android one of our most intelligent and machine learning-intensive apps. Speech recognition, handwriting recognition, OCR, and machine translation all rely on powerful statistical models built on billions of samples of data."
Google said that its OCR capabilities currently stretch to cover Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish, and it said that more languages will be added.
While Google likes to promote the service as a useful tool for those on holiday, the problem with Google Translate and other on-demand services is its need for an internet connection. Given that data roaming rates are high cost, that makes the service an expensive option if it's used regularly. µ