Google Translate for Android Gets Handwriting Recognition

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Here is a small but nifty update for Google Translate for Android: the app now features experimental handwriting recognition for Chinese and Japanese characters. You can also enable this feature for English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, though it’s likely going to be more useful for trying to figure out the meaning of that Japanese written in Kanji than to translate a Spanish word.

In this new version of the app, a new handwriting icon will now appear next to the already familiar microphone that activates the speech recognition feature in the app. As Google notes, speech recognition can often come in handy, but “sometimes you don’t know how to say what you want translated, sometimes you can’t type it, and sometimes it’s easier just to write it.”

The Google Translate team also notes that all of the actual handwriting recognition happens in the cloud. Thanks to this, Google can continually learn from your inputs and tweak its algorithms without having to update the app itself.

To give it a try, just download the tool from the Android Market here. It’s not clear when (or if) Google plans to bring this feature to the iOS version of Google Translate.

Frederic Lardinois founded SiliconFilter in 2011. Before starting this site, he wrote about 1,500 articles for ReadWriteWeb. His areas of interest are consumer web and mobile apps, as well as Internet-connected devices like cars, smart sensors and toasters. You can reach him at [email protected]

8 COMMENTS

  1. @Techmeme Just got the update on my Galaxy SII and tested it for english…recognition is pretty slow…it’s much faster to type…

  2. [...] Google Translate for Android Gets Handwriting Recognition | SiliconFilter "In this new version of the app, a new handwriting icon will now appear next to the already familiar microphone that activates the speech recognition feature in the app." [...]

  3. Thanks for the review! <a href=”http://clawdigital.com/android-app-development/”>Android apps development</a>.I agree with you regarding the limitations of the built-in tools when it comes to time tracking. If you’re finding that OmniFocus is more complex than you need you might give Things a try. Things is my task manager of choice and I find it’s a joy to use. There’s plenty of functionality under the hood (including repeating tasks), and it never seems to get in the way.Nice Post. Thanks for your sharing.

  4. Given Google Translate’s reputation, I bet this one also gives inaccurate translations. They should first improve Google Translate’s performance before going into other ventures.

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