Google Translate adds 20 languages to visual translate, speeds up voice …

30 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google Translate adds 20 languages to visual translate, speeds up voice translations.

The search engine giant added 20 languages to their instant virtual translation app, a big leap from the original seven languages (English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish) people could use to instantly identify words in a foreign language.

Google today announced that within the next few days its Google Translate app for iOS and Android will be able to give users immediate visual translations of text in 27 languages. Google also says the offline capabilities work much faster, which should enable you to quickly find out what that sign means whether or not you have a Internet connection. Instant visual translation is now available for Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Filipino, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, and Ukrainian, according to a blog post today from Google Translate product lead Barak Turovsky. Additionally, if a user takes a photo of the text through camera mode, Google can translate the text into an additional 10 languages, for a total of 37. Its most handy, and impressive, tool is the six-month-old instant translation feature, using the goodies from the acquired Word Lens, that lets you point your camera at something written in another language, say a sign, and it’ll translate into your language with ridiculous accuracy in almost real-time.

To try out the new languages you need to go into the Translate app and click the camera button in order to download a 2 MB language pack for each language you want. Google’s secret to recognizing this vast array of languages is hidden in deep neural networks, the same networks that create hallucinative images and eerie art. TechCrunch spoke with Julie Cattiau, the product manager for Google GOOG 0.63% Translate, who said: Our mission is to help overcome language barriers. By teaming up with Quest Visual, Google was “able to work with some of the top researchers in deep learning,” according to Google’s research blog.

The images undergo a step-by-step process, which begins when the app finds letters in the image through identifying blocks of pixels with similar colors next to each other. The story behind the story: Google is making the most of its acquisition of Word Lens, which powers the augmented features of the new version of Google Translate.

Google has trained its artificial neural network — a key technology for deep learning — on images showing letters as well as on fake images marred by imperfections, to simulate real-life scenes. But part of that is also the overall user experience, which is why we also invest in things like instant camera translation and multi-language conversation. I spoke to Julie Cattiau, product manager at Google Translate, yesterday about the Translate project as a whole, and asked specifically about Translate as an aid, rather than a replacement: JC: Translate is not a replacement for a language-learning course; it’s not going to teach you a language from scratch or all of the intricacies involved in learning a language. After the program has found the letters, it then looks up approximate definitions to find the correct word, but also to account for mistakes that the program might have made earlier in the process.

For instance, a handwritten “s” could have been interpreted as a “5” in the translation process, but the program would still ultimately translate the mistaken “5uper” as “super.” But not everyone has a data processing center with the capabilities of Google. To counter that issue, Google had to develop a small neural net to limit the information density that the computer processor handles. “Sometimes new technology can seem very abstract, and it’s not always obvious what the applications for things like convolutional neural nets could be,” notes the Google research blog. “We think breaking down language barriers is one great use.” And Google promises that there more barriers to be broken: “More than half of the content on the Internet is in English, but only around 20% of the world’s population speaks English.

JC: Personally, I really enjoy reading and hearing user stories around how we were able to improve their lives by enabling them to connect with other people — whether it’s someone successfully ordering off of a foreign menu, a couple getting married who didn’t speak each other’s languages, or a life being saved because an emergency responder could communicate with someone.

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