Back in 2010, Quest Visual launched an incredible app designed to use the smartphone camera to translate written text in a foreign language to the device owner’s language in real-time. Word Lens Translator would blur out the foreign language text and would replace over it with the new text in a similar font and size.
Here is a YouTube video from Quest Visual so you can see it in action:
Google, being no stranger to acquiring companies it loves, picked up Quest Visual and its Word Lens technology. Similar to Waze, the crowd-sharing map and navigation service whose technology was folded into Google Maps, Word Lens will soon appear as an option in Google Translate.
At this time, it is reported that Live Translate will only allow for Spanish, Italian, French, German, Portuguese and Russian to English, or English to one of those languages. It will not work, for example, from Russian to French.
In addition to Word Lens, Google Translate will also feature active conversation mode. Traditionally, Translate would require one side to type or speak, wait for Translate to work its magic, then let the other participant do the same. With conversation mode, both participants can speak freely and let Google Translate keep up.
As someone who works in emergency services in the healthcare industry, I’m personally very excited to try out this new Translate feature. Frequently we have patients who do not speak English and we have to set up special interpreter telephones for even the most basic of conversations. This takes time and it also costs the hospital money to pay for this interpreter service.
There is not yet an ETA on when this update will occur, but it is coming soon.
If you cannot wait to get your hands on Live Translate, Quest Visual is still maintaining the app download for Word Lens in the Play Store. See below for the download link.
Source: Android Police