Jan 22, 2011 11:00 AM –
Google’s Translate App features over 50 different languages. Learn a language by using text-to-speech options; translate your messages and easily upload them to text messages, e-mails and social networking sites.
Pros & Cons:
- Simple layout for easy text translation.
- Text-to-speech options allows you to hear the pronunciation of some of the languages.
- Conversation Mode (only for Spanish and English) allows you to carry on a conversation with your phone as a mediator between the two languages.
- More often then not, the translation is pretty accurate (tried this for Spanish, Dutch, Japanese)
- Translates text straight from your inbox and allows you to copy the translation into your messages.
- Many of the languages didn’t have the text-to-speech option. This feature only benefits the Roman language user (Spanish, Italian, French etc.)
- Doesn’t understand other languages as well as English during speech mode. It’s better if you type what you’re trying to say.
When you open Google’s Translate app, you are prompted to add Svox Voice Data and Text-to-Speech Extended in order to get the most out of the app. Then a simple light blue screen displays two drop-down menus to select your home language, and what you want that language to be translated to. The speech option button on the side of the enter text space allows you to speak into your phone instead of typing the text.
The front screen also has a “SMS Translation” icon for you to easily access your text messages, and translate them at your leisure. In your options menu, you can also send your translated text to all of your social-networking sites, email and text messages. The clean white and blue design does what it needs to do with no fuss. You pick one language and then another language to get a translation. There aren’t any customizable features to speak off other than being able to cut off Google’s word suggestions after you typed out a sentence. You can also turn off detailed explanations of text and phrases in the setting menu. With over 50 different languages, you have a lot of options to choose from.
(* means audible translations available):
- Simple Chinese*
- Traditional Chinese*
- Haitian Creole
Audible feedback is amazing––which to my delight–– sounded more human and less robotic then other other audible feedback. However, the adjust-speed-option impacts the quality of the pronunciations and the translator can start to sound like R2 D2 on slow mode.
What makes this translator stand out?
Google’s Translate App stands out among the rest with its new Conversation Mode. It’s only available in Spanish right now, but imagine having a built in speech mediator at your fingertips. This amazing feature allows you to talk in English and then it translates what you said, and speaks it in Spanish. The Spanish speaker then has the option to speak into the phone in their native tongue and then the phone will translate it out in English. The possibilities are endless, and you can have conversations with a foreign exchange student with fewer of the lost-in-translation mishaps.
This is a great app to bring with you on the road. Warning, the app is best for more Roman-based languages. However, I did find the Eastern language text translations to be useful for helping me sound out some words. It was a little annoying to see that Arabic and a few other languages didn’t have characters displayed at all, let alone a a text-to-speech option, but I’m excited to see what this app will offer its users with future updates and speech recognition adjustments.
Ease of Use:
The simple layout makes this app easy to use. Just select a language and the language you want your sentence to be translated into. You can type it or speak it thanks to the speech. The handy “SMS Translation” button makes it easy to translate text on the fly, and the History button conveniently saves your translations so you can go back to a phrase later.
Use this for language study, travel, writing, etc.