Google Translate Updates Mobile App With Live 'Word Lens' Japanese Translations

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 26, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Google Translate recently updated its iOS and Android applications, bringing Japanese-to-English and English-to-Japanese translation support to its augmented reality "Word Lens" feature. Thanks to the added support, English-speaking users can point their smartphone camera at Japanese text and instantly get an English translation on screen. The same can be done for Japanese tourists visiting predominantly English-speaking countries.


    Before the update, Google mentioned that users could snap a picture of Japanese text and get an English translation, but thanks to the AR in Word Lens, "it's a whole lot more convenient" to figure out where you are in a foreign city with the live translation feature. Notably, users don't have to worry about having an Internet or data connection when using Word Lens during travel, as the translation software works offline.
    Back in November Google announced an update to Google Translate that made longer articles and paragraphs "a lot smoother and easier to read." Using new AI learning software called Neural Machine Translation, Google Translate can now learn over time "to create better, more natural translations."

    Google Translate is available to download for free from the App Store [Direct Link].

    Article Link: Google Translate Updates Mobile App With Live 'Word Lens' Japanese Translations
  2. thasan macrumors 65816

    Oct 19, 2007
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I can see this helping the tattoo industry - seriously. People still like getting those types of tattoos and you have to wonder if it means "strength" or chicken soup. ;)
  4. dannyyankou macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2012
    Scarsdale, NY
    I tried to use it to translate Japanese a couple weeks ago, this is a cool addition
  5. RowellE macrumors regular


    Mar 5, 2012
    How unfortunate that a horrendous song and music video is promoting this app.

    This amazing app needs better promo than that.

  6. Sefstah macrumors 6502a

    Dec 21, 2015
    Google, a truly innovative company that helps bring the world closer together. This app is also free by the way. Meanwhile, apple is on the penny squeezing dongle plan.
  7. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Microsoft Translator app, which is also free, can image translate Japanese and many other languages also (and also offline capability). And I frankly much prefer its interface over "material" interface that Google is shoving to iOS users.

    So if the languages you want is on both, you should try both and see which you prefer.
  8. Wackery macrumors 6502a

    Feb 1, 2015
    meanwhile at apple

    Attached Files:

  9. _mdavenport macrumors regular


    Aug 23, 2015
    California, USA
    The word lens feature blew my mind when it first came out. Amazing technology. This is a nice addition.
  10. BuffaloTF macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2008
    Free? So is the far superior Microsoft Translator... but who's counting?
  11. B4U macrumors 68000


    Oct 11, 2012
    Undisclosed location
    Given how bad is Google translate with Japanese, I can't help but to laugh at disasters awaiting to happen.
  12. 2457282 Suspended

    Dec 6, 2012
    The App looks so good that I actually will allow it as the first google app on my iphone. Totally agree that the video is terrible, but be careful. It seems that statement may be considered off topic and get us censored.
  13. reden macrumors 6502a

    Aug 30, 2006
    I was just in Japan a couple weeks ago, and it was really bad with Japanese. I ended up just asking Japanese people, and somehow managed to communicate with them.
  14. GhostRaider macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2014
    You have to admit the idea is good. It needs more work. Apple on the other hand doesn't focus on these types of features and only care about iPhone and money.
  15. ginkobiloba, Jan 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017

    ginkobiloba macrumors 6502


    Jul 2, 2007
    I've just installed both, and tried some japanese-->english image translate from , and the Microsoft app was a disaster, spouting complete nonsense. Google's app was pretty decent on the other hand.

    This stuff feels pretty magical though..., even if it's just useful for translating a couple of words. Real translation is still very far off. Every english-->french live audio translation I've tried with these apps comes up completely hilarious , real comedy material....
  16. SeaFox macrumors 68030


    Jul 22, 2003
    Somewhere Else
    I'm sorry, given the quality of most Asian-language translations I get with Google, you do NOT want to use it as an information source for a semi-permanent skin modification.
  17. lexvo macrumors 65816

    Nov 11, 2009
    The Netherlands
    True. Sometimes it gives an OK translation, but other times it is way off.
    But the translate technology will improve of course.
  18. Wackery macrumors 6502a

    Feb 1, 2015
    what's the character limit for text in this app? or is it basically only for signs and small words
  19. allenvanhellen macrumors regular

    Dec 8, 2015
    If you care about studying the language, I'd recommend using Imiwa instead, and using the Chinese handwriting keyboard to write the kanji yourself. Then you'll actually learn something.
  20. timborama macrumors 6502


    Oct 12, 2011
    MS translator works very well for inline web translations, but for images/photos it's pretty pathetic (at least for Japanese in my experience). The Google photo (and now Live Lens) works very well.
  21. Googlyhead macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2010
    The original word lens was pretty good until Google bought it.
    I understand the attempt to push people into using their own translate app, but it's far more cumbersome and less intuitive than the original standalone.
  22. Sefstah macrumors 6502a

    Dec 21, 2015
    Superior how? Not in the app store or google play. Maybe on a windows phone if anyone even uses that anymore. The point is, Its clear every other company is innovating while apple is focused on thinness and adapters.
  23. C DM, Jan 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017

    C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011

    (In fact, the link to the iOS app is at the beginning of a post that originally mentioned earlier in the thread, but, even as you essentially mentioned, it seems like the point isn't really about any of that and basically just to make some unrelated digs at Apple supposedly somehow just because some companies have translator apps.)
  24. B4U macrumors 68000


    Oct 11, 2012
    Undisclosed location
    Can't really blame them since Japanese is indeed very complicated.
  25. Septembersrain macrumors 68040


    Dec 14, 2013
    I was part of a pen pal program and they've got their own slang, same word with different meanings, etc. It's probably just as confusing as English. Though the writing part is probably where the struggle really is.

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