Language is everywhere. Your native language is Spanish, but the EasyBet Casino website is written in English. Does that mean that this website is off-limits to you? Of course not, you use the Chrome Browser and Google Translate, and you are easily translating from one language to another language with any website that is written with text.
What if I want to translate a letter that I got in the mail?
Google Translate with Camera to the rescue.
If the letter is mostly paragraphs, that solution has existed for a long time. Either you can scan the document and then use Google Translate to do OCR and translate the document.
If you are not next to a scanner, but you do have a phone or tablet that can take pictures, you can take a picture of the document, and Google Translate will translate it. You end with a whole paragraph of text. The paragraph breaks may be missing, and sometimes the text can be quite humorous (in a non-correct translation way). But, for most translations, you can get the general gist of what the document is saying.
What if I have to fill out a health questionnaire while at the doctor’s office?
Google Lens to the rescue.
I had that scenario. I went to the health clinic to get my child an MMRV vaccination. Of course, there was a medical questionnaire to fill out—Google Lens to the rescue.
Although Google Lens came out in 2017, I just recently heard of this program. When I did a quick search about Google Lens, the first results were saying that Google Lens was a failure. I am not quite sure why it is considered a failure because I think it is going to be as “valuable as sliced bread.”
Is Google Lens a failure?
“The failure of Google Glass is due to the lack of clarity on why this product exists. The designers did not clearly define or validate: the users’ problems, what solutions Google Glass would provide for its users, or how customers would use the glasses.” – Source: “Assumptions that led to the failure of Google Glass” by medium.com.
First of all, Google Lens is not the same thing as Google Glass. In terms of hardware, Google Glass is something that you wear on your head, and it gives you information about what you see. I remember when that came out. Both my husband and I thought it was “stupid” because a person should be paying attention to what is going on in the real world and not what is going on on their screen.
Remember Pokemon Go, where the parents were so focused on their phones that they did not see their child who fell off the balcony and the guy that scaled the building to rescue the child? “Malian hero scales Paris building to save child.“
In terms of software, I think that Google Lens and Google Glass use the same technology. It seems to, at least. In June 2018, Google released Google Lens as a stand-alone application. Currently, if you have a phone that has Android 8 or above, you can download Google Lens from GooglePlay.
Anyway, what makes Google Lens different than Google Translate is that it keeps the translation in the same location as where the text is scanned. This is very important when you are trying to scan and translate a form. Without Google Lens, you have to scan a section of the document, translate it, answer the question, and then go to the next question. With Google Lens, you can see exactly which translation goes with which question on the form.
In 2017, when I first started to use Google Translate regularly, with a data plan, on the go, it was a life-changer. But in 2022, after discovering Google Lens, let’s just say that it is now time to update my Android 7 (not able to use Google Lens) tablet.
What else can Google Lens do?
A lot of features of Google Lens have already been implemented into the standard Android phone. For example, have you ever tried to scan a QR code or a barcode to get more information about a product? If so, then you have used Google Lens features without even knowing it.
Identify plants or animals with Google Lens
Are you taking a walk in your neighborhood and seeing a flower you do not recognize? Take a picture of it, and Google Lens will tell you what it is.
Take action on text
Did you buy a ticket to play? Take a picture of it, and Google Lens will recognize that it is a ticket and then ask you if you want to add a calendar event.
Explore similar items
Take a picture of a chair or a table or a poker table, and then Google Lens will show you similar items to what you took a picture of.
See what’s popular on a menu
Take a picture of a menu, and Google Lens will show you what population is on the menu. Not sure if it is popular in general or popular with that particular restaurant.
If you take a photo of:
- Apparel and home goods: Find similar products and where to buy them.
- Barcodes: Use a barcode to find info about a product, like where to buy it.
- Business card: Save the phone number or address to a contact.
- Book: Get a summary and read reviews.
- Event flyer or billboard: Add the event to your calendar.
- Landmark or building: See historical facts, hours of operation, and more.
- Painting in a museum: Read about the artist and learn more.
- Plant or animal: Learn about species and breeds.
Help is at https://support.google.com/photos/answer/7539151.
Shopping results are available in the following countries: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE, United Kingdom, and the United States.
What languages can Google Lens translate for?
The following languages can be translated using Google Lens:
Are there any gotchas with Google Lens and Google Translate?
Yes. It is not complete. Conjugations of verbs are missing. Word translations are wrong.
Although Google Translate is getting better and better as each year goes by, it is not perfect. As you get with your foreign language skills, you will recognize more of these errors. But then, by that point, your language skills are probably good enough that you will have an idea of how to fix the Google mistakes. Or even when to use Google Translate and when to use a different tool.
Compared to using a manual dictionary, Google Lens and Google Translate are lifesavers. But it is still a long way off from being “one-stop shopping” for language translation, and I have my doubts that it will ever truly replace human translation (or at least human review of the translation).
The language that I was testing Google Lens and Google Translate for was Hebrew, which is a right to left language with nikkud (diacritics, accents written above or below a letter to indicate different ways the same letter can be pronounced).
What did I use to learn a foreign language?
The main application that I use to learn a foreign language is Rosetta Stone. Different people have different views of this application, and some people wonder if it is even worth the money when there are free applications available.
I am an A to B to C to D type of person, so I have found Rosetta Stone useful. But since I have started using the application, I did find a few “tricks of the trade” that I will share.
One, get a lifetime purchase with unlimited languages. Even if you think that you will finish the program without X months, life happens. Or you just feel as if you need to repeat the lessons. Also, you are going to want unlimited languages, so you can view things in your native language if you are not sure what the lesson is trying to teach. The cost for unlimited languages is $179.
Two, get the tutors. You will need that back and forth talking to truly help you learn the language. The first year includes tutors, but after that, it costs $129 per year. Tutors are only available for adults, not children under the age of 13, even if a parent is present.
Three, download the Corse Contents (text of the core lessons) from https://support.rosettastone.com/s/article/Rosetta-Stone-Course-Contents?language=en_US – I recommend downloading both your native language and the language you are trying to learn. This is very useful for understanding grammar, especially when the translation of not a direct translation. “What does that sign mean?” (native language). “What does that sign say?” (foreign language)
Four, download the teacher resources. Rosetta Stone has the following teacher resources:
- Teacher’s Guide – Download the English version to get the vocabulary lists in English and ideas of activities and writing assignments to do outside of Rosetta Stone.
- Workbooks with instructions for English speakers (not available in all languages, so it may or may not be useful)
- Tests (not available in all languages, so it may or may not be useful)
- Answer Keys (not available in all languages)
Five, the web application and the Android application are different. For example, the core lesson on the web is one 30 minute lesson. On Android, it is broken into 3 ten minute lessons.
Six audio files for Android and the Web are different. For the web, it is just an audio file. For Android, it is an audio file while displaying the images with the text.
Seven, get a good grammar book. Rosetta Stone is a great application, but it does not explain the grammar in English. For some languages, the teacher’s manual will explain the grammar for your target language, but for a lot of languages, the teacher’s manual in English will just explain the grammar concept being taught in English. But at least if you know that, you can easily look up in a grammar book or online the details of the grammar for your target language.
Eight, try to do something in your target language every day (yes, most people skip weekends). Once you get out of rhythm, it feels as if you have to take steps back.
Nine, practice going from your native language to your target language. Rosetta Stone is excellent for going from your target language to your native language, but you need to work outside of Rosetta Stone to fully embrace the language.
Ten, don’t give up. I don’t know when exactly it will be, but there will come a time when you feel like you want to spread your wings. Do it. Watch a TV show in your target language. If you want to practice the sounds of the language, you can put on the language subtitles. But if you are trying to expand your vocabulary, keep on the English subtitles. But don’t stop using Rosetta Stone. Still continue with the product because even though you may feel like you “know enough,” you do the next lesson, and you realize that you don’t.
Personally, I started to feel this way around Unit 6, past and future. It was at this point that I really started to feel like “I wanted to start writing” and “I wanted to start talking,” but I also still know that there is still a lot more that I need to learn.
Learning a foreign language is a great life skill. Using Rosetta Stone software combined with a teacher that follows the Rosetta Stone curriculum is even better. And Google Lens for pesky forms.