I love Google Translate for Android. It’s already made my 3-year-old more fluent in Russian than myself (admittedly, I’m not fluent in Russian at all). But it just got better, and I can’t wait to show her.
Now it has a new input feature for handwriting. With the latest Android update, you can use your touchscreen to write characters. You’ll see a pen icon next to the mic icon for speaking.
Check it out:
“Our goal is to break down the language barrier, all the time, everywhere,” says Google Translate software engineer Daniel Keysers. “By adding handwriting input directly into our Android app we hope to help you get translation done even more quickly and easily. 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. We think of handwriting on the touchscreen as another natural input that you may want to use to complement the keyboard, microphone, or camera.”
“This is still an experimental feature,” notes Keysers. “It’s available in Chinese and Japanese, and you can enable it for English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish if you like. (We currently only support single-character input for Chinese and Japanese.) Just as with speech recognition and our translations themselves, our handwriting recognition happens in the cloud, allowing us to continually improve accuracy without requiring you to download new versions of the app.”
The latest version of the app is currently available in the Android Market, and works on tablets and phones running Android 1.5 and up.