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back to article Google Translate for Android adds offline translation option

The latest update to the Google Translate app for Android aims to solve one of its trickier issues: how to use the app when you're traveling abroad without incurring expensive overseas data roaming charges or fiddling with foreign SIMs. Previous versions of the app required you to be connected to the internet, and all of the …

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Silver badge

160Mb isn't so bad. The resources I have installed for JED add up to 109Mb and that's just the word list and Kanji radicals; and JED doesn't try to translate entire sentences.

Sweet to see vertical text support at last. Now I can read the instructions on my bags of rice. ;-)

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200MB for French, 156MB for Spanish.

As someone living in France and often visiting Spain this will be a real help - my French is OK but occasionally a particular word is outside my vocabulary. Google Translate has often helped, but sometimes mobile reception lets me down - especially in some large shops when I need to ask for something!

Meanwhile I get hit for data roaming charges in Spain, and my Spanish is poor, so I know this is going to come in very handy...

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Trollface

rice cooking instructions

boil it till it's soft enough to eat.

There, fixed that for you.

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FAIL

Hmmmm .... might need a bit more work!

I was pretty excited about the announcement that Google Translate on Android can now translate Chinese text from the camera - this will be very useful to me (if it works) when I go to China in a couple of months, as my grasp of the Chinese language is only marginally better than my knowledge of the numerous Amazonian native dialects, so I thought I'd give it a go.

My first test results, while amusing, weren't too promising though.

I did a Google search for "Chinese character images" and found this picture which purports to say "Hello World", which I thought would do for a first trial:

http://www.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E19253-01/817-2524/images/87-01.tiff.gif&imgrefurl=http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E19253-01/817-2524/usertwnfontedit-6/index.html&h=389&w=531&sz=5&tbnid=DnhNiVl_0G_L4M:&tbnh=81&tbnw=110&zoom=1&usg=__Y6i198h0taNWu0Ij5kZSHqOj0WI=&docid=awU-ro4BXs6EZM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=zLFTUcLSDMbgkgWIhYHwBQ&ved=0CEsQ9QEwBA&dur=599

Sure enough, I updated my copy of Translate, and the camera option is there when you choose "Chinese" as the "From" language, so I pointed my camera at the screen, snapped a shot, and highlighted the Chinese characters.

And the result?

"Duke spit-feeding"

Unless "Duke spit-feeding" is a traditional Chinese greeting ("Duke-spit-feeding to you, my good fellow!"), I'll rate my first test as a "Fail"!

(Or maybe the first image of Chinese text that I happened upon is a practical joke to rival Monty Python's "My hovercraft is full of eels"?)

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Re: "Duke spit-feeding"

...those inscrutable Orientals

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Paris Hilton

Re: Hmmmm .... might need a bit more work!

周公吐哺: The Duke of Zhou spits out his breast-milk.

I don't know the context for saying this.

Provenance: http://pin-yin.org/ChengYu/Zhou-Gong-Tu-Bu.html

[Paris for obvious connotations]

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmmmm .... might need a bit more work!

My nipples explode with delight.

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Google Translate: An endless source of humour and embarasment

Vietnamese, a tonal language, is a really hard language to learn.

For example, in my pocket Vietnamese dictionary, there are over 21 variants of the word duong. The spectrum of the word duong includes street, salt, sugar, etc. Duong Sat means "Road of Steel" also referred to as railway!

Still, Google is responsive to corrections and their efforts are rewarded with quizzical looks or outright laughter. Even the police use Google Translate to communicate with foreigners.

Above all, Google Translate is way, way, more useful than the Lonely Planet attempt as a handy translator.

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Re: Google Translate: An endless source of humour and embarasment

I realise it's not quite the same thing, but in English for the spoken use of 'there', 'they're' and 'their', the meaning can be determined by context. Do you find that context is any use at all for listening to Vietnamese and does it help Vietnamese people understand your mispronounciations?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google Translate: An endless source of humour and embarasment

Well I lived in Vietnam for some time and context made very little difference at all. If you were in a western tourist area they might try a little harder to gauge meaning, but anywhere else you needed pretty good pronunciation.

The fact that you could rise in tone, lower in tone, go up and down, abruptly cut off your word etc and create completely different words made things very difficult as it was very hard to read a word and convert to a tone. It's a very alien concept to westerners.

The lonely planet's guide was complete rubbish and had me calling people "crazy" ( khùng) rather than saying "no" (không) to them for quite a while based on their handy guide.

Until you understand the symbols that create tones in Vietnamese and the way they pronounce syllables you are better trying to pick up the basics by listening rather than reading, there's plenty of Vietnamese youths who will give you a simple Vietnamese lesson in exchange for practising English conversation.

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Just downloaded it.

But,

Does anyone with a rooted system, or has it connected to a monitored network, know whether this app "calls home" with a compressed or stealthily-submitted report of what the user translated?

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Re: Just downloaded it.

Why does it matter?

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Re: Just downloaded it.

"Why does it matter?"

I wasn't being snarky or posting "meee to". I think it is good thatt Google is doing this. What I forgot to or neglected to include was that I dowloaded it from a popular coffee shop, and it took around 30 minutes. Had I tried it in SF Public Library, the way things are here, in this wannab-world-class-city, it would likely have taken 1.5 hours due to spotty, iffy, unstable connectivity. My lappy does not drop every 2 minutes at other places like it does at SFPL, and I get full bars and sit near the wifi node.

Anyway, Translate is useful as an app. But, that should not entitle google to gain globla access to the inner workings or silliness (could be profitable or very harmful to any individual who wants to restrict his or her thoughts from being exploited). The reason many people buy physical off-line translators without wi-fi in them is to avoid private translations being stored on somebody's server. It's the reason I bought a translator, in Korea, that HAD no wi-fi, even tho my purchase is old-school and one-of-a-kind in the display case.

As for the -1 someone slammed up my ass, my question about whether or not it phones home the off-line translations IS a valid question. After all, how many times here and in other forums have we seen, read, and complained about surreptitious call-home "bugs" and "features" in code. How many times have we read about earlier versions of ms world embarrasing companies when "previous time-saved versions" were preserving content that was damaging because the recipient of a document only needed open the document's version history? How many times have we heard about call-home features that companies denied?

Can/may I have my -1 reversed now?

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Megaphone

Finally!

I was waiting till I could act like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW9vSgUaXZU#t=1m2s

(loudspeaker because it speaks!)

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Windows

This is good, but overdue.

Just wanted to pop in to support my chosen platform (since we are a bit thin on the ground here, and everyone seems to think that Windows Phone is so lacking) and mention that Bing Translator has provided free offline translation for about a year. It works well (but I'd love to compare the results of the two knowing Google's high quality in the area). TBH I can't believe it wasn't available on Android before now.

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next step is augmented reality

I know some third party apps already do augmented reality translation and can do so because of their local translation tools instead of having to use a network connection. Now Google can work locally the augmented reality on live camera images is just a short step further

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"at times [the offline translations] were a bit dodgy"

As I've always thought the online translations were a bit dodgy, I can only suppose that the author of the article has a higher pain threshold than most.

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Sunny days ahead with this one.

well, with no data sucking network cloud this is an all consuming winner.

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Are there any German speakers here who can comment on how well that joke* translates?

*(Mien hund hat kneine nase etc.)

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translated back..

"my dog has no nose. Oh? how function it smell?" (it, not it's)=

"Insufficient" (better would have been: Bad (Schlecht).. that'd have somehow transported the joke, too)

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Google Translate doesn't do Scottish Gaelic for some reason.

Just Irish. Point Google Chrome at http://www.bbc.co.uk/alba/ and it identifies it as Irish, and offers to translate it to English. Which it makes a mess of.

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Stop

Hmm.... mixed thoughts

Well... There are usable offline translators in Play for more than a year, just search for them. I personally use the "7-in-1 Offline Translator", however language choice is limited, but it works pretty well -- offline -- and is only 50 MB for 7 languages. Google Translate isn't good enough in offline mode, and those HUGE language files are definitely a let down. Link96.

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