Consider two different lingual persons sitting in a room; say one can only speak English while the other can only speak French. Now imagine the linguistic barrier that lies in between them.
Now Google has solved the issue with the update in its Translate App. The two Googlers — Parisian-born product manager Julie Cattiau and software engineer Otavio Good unveiled the company’s latest Translate app, supercharged with what Google calls the biggest update in years.
“I’d like a cup of coffee without milk or sugar,” Good says in English into the phone, which almost immediately repeats his words in French. “I’ll bring you that right now,” Cattiau replies in French, her response rendered aloud in English.
Get ready for your own interpreter as it would be released soon. The machine assisted translation will fill the linguistic gap among the followers of the different languages. Google’s free app, which was officially launched to the world, early Wednesday, is an advanced mobile-translating tool, recognizing more than three dozen languages. Similar researches have been undergoing by Microsoft’s Skype who planned to design a translator which can translate multi-lingual video chats in real-time. Twitter is using Bing translation technology to instantly translate tweets, while Facebook pursues its own translation efforts.
Young Cattiau, who has worked at Google the past three-and-a-half years says “I’m passionate about translation. With our new app, we’re able to detect the languages being spoken so you don’t even have to press the translate button on the phone each time you talk. It’s now so much more natural.”
While the users and critics who have not used the recent updated app had largely praised the previous version of the app, with CNET calling it “feature-packed” and “extremely versatile.”
A new key feature designed by Good, named Word Lens technology was integrated into the updated app after Google bought his company last May, stands up with the phone to show off the app’s other key feature: the ability to point the camera at foreign-language text, whether it’s a street sign or a restaurant menu, and have an English translation appear like magic on the smart phone or tablet screen.
Good showed the Demo by pointing his camera towards one of the demo signs in different languages on the wall at Google’s San Francisco headquarters. Instantly the same picture appears on the screen with the English translation on the screen. The best part is that this feature works without an Internet or data connection. Good performed this action with multiple lingual signs and the app successfully translated all the instructions on the signs, into English.
“Often the hardest part of traveling is navigating the local language,” Google developers say in a blog post about the new app. “If you’ve ever asked for ‘pain’ in Paris and gotten funny looks, confused ’embarazada’ (pregnant) with ’embarrassed’ in Mexico, or stumbled over pronunciation pretty much anywhere, you know the feeling.”
Good says that this technology got boost after the introduction of technology that could recognize symbols in Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas. “Achieving a robust recognition of text has required a lot of work” Good says.
According to Good, Google’s purchase of his company last May has put things on the fast track.
The app was first introduced in 2001; saw a great peak in its energy in 2006 when developers began using “statistical machine translation,” essentially mapping languages across the Internet. As Google’s algorithms learn to pair up, say, “maison” in French with “house” in English, the computers gradually build a dynamic translator, word by word.
“We base translation on machine learning, by looking at billions of Web pages that have been translated into other languages,” says Cattiau. “We find ‘dog’ has been translated millions of times into ‘chien,’ for example, so the computer now knows the two mean the same thing.”
Up till now the updated app can translate 38 languages and the number of language are expected to grow.