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Yesterday, a colleague and I were discussing some of the topics in this blog, and she said that she felt that Google Goggles was better than WordLens for translating text on a mobile device.  I was sure that I had heard of Google Goggles, but couldn’t find it on the App Store.  As it turns out Goggles is not an App by itself – it has been incorporated into Google Mobile, and I have been using this application for months.  Goggles is a much more developed technology than WordLens that is able to recognize text, book covers, landmarks, logos, bar-codes and understand a variety of other image types.  However, it’s not a dedicated translation app, and if you’re trying to translate the Russian text on a box of cereal, it might recognize what kind of cereal it is, and try to take you to the company website instead of translate the text – but you can override this.  For a dedicated translation app, Google Translate is hard to beat.  It can translate back and forth between 50 different languages and leverages the full power of Google translation technology.  The app is able to take spoken phrases or words, translate them and then even speak them back to you in the target language.  For some language pairs, it has a “Conversation Mode” whereby it acts as a semi-simultaneous translator.  However, unlike WordLens, the app only works if you have a network connection, and doesn’t translate in an augmented reality mode.  That said, if you’re after a translation, you can probably take the time to snap a picture and process it through the network – assuming you are spending money while “data roaming” in the foreign country you are visiting.

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