mobile telephone Apple iPhone 7
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Language Translation Has Improved With This Updated Software From Google…

Different languages have been less of a barrier of communications every day in recent years, as the Google Translate software application program for portable electronic devices has improved due to some upgrades since version 3.1.0 was released approximately five years ago — most notably, the ability to simply point your device equipped with a camera to printed text written in a different language and have that text automatically translated for you without pressing a button…

Language Translation Has Improved With This Updated Software From Google

…as well as a conversation mode with which if you and another person do not understand each other because you both speak different languages, it will audibly detect the languages and translate for you automatically.

Other features of Google Translate include:

  • Text Translation — Translate between 103 languages by typing
  • Offline — Translate in 59 languages with no internet connection
  • Instant Camera Translation — Translate text in 90 languages in images instantly by simply pointing your camera and following these instructions
  • Photographs — Take or import photographs for higher quality translations in 50 languages
  • Conversations — Translate bilingual conversations on the fly in 43 languages
  • Handwriting — Draw text characters instead of typing in 95 languages
  • Phrasebook — Star and save translated words and phrases for future reference in all languages
Seoul Metro
Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Best of all, the software is free to download from Apple for portable electronic devices which use iOS 11.0 or later versions; or you can download from Google Play for portable electronic devices using the Android operating system — and which version depends on which device.

I can see at least one nefarious use for this software. For example, you know how people should no longer commit acts which could be considered damaging evidence because chances are that their acts will most likely be recorded and captured due to the widespread use of video cameras? Well, apparently now two people can no longer talk about another person in close proximity using what they think is a different language to disparage or mock that person.

Remember how I continuously stress the importance of knowing at least one word of the native language in a country which you are visiting? Well, there have been those rare times before software from Google and Skype were available where I have seen two or more people mocking another person or trying to say something behind the back of that person; and I will suddenly say “Excuse me” or something similarly innocent in their language. Seeing the stunned look of surprise — and sometimes embarrassment, wondering how much of the rest of the conversation I understood — on their faces was priceless!


Apparently the competition to the Skype software application program — which allowed you to communicate with anyone in the world via text, voice or video at little to no cost and reportedly started translating voice calls between English and Spanish speakers effective as of Monday, December 15, 2014 through a preview program called Skype Translator — has become more formidable in the world of language translation to the point in which Google Translate has become the preeminent leader.

Imagine someone trying to say something to you and you reply in your own language that you do not understand that person. How would you react if that person suddenly shoved a tablet in your face and repeated himself or herself? Would it annoy you — or would you help that person?

I personally would assist that person; and I do not get annoyed when someone approaches me in the United States and tries to talk to me even though he or she understands little to no English. As far as I am concerned, that person is doing better in attempting to speak English than I would most likely be attempting to speak his or her language…

…but apparently, the language barriers are decreasing with every update of these software application programs — and that can be a good thing. However, I still believe that it would be nice to learn other languages anyway, as the translations are often not literal — and it also causes the person learning to better appreciate that language.

All photographs ©2014 and ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

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