Iphone Translator App is the future of language learning
OAXACA, Mexico- Everyone looked amazed as a traveler from Perth fumbled with a bag of potato chips and a smart phone. It looked as if he was photographing it, no, he was translating it. This traveler was equipped with an Iphone that had a translator app built into it, and the thing could translate just about any language into English just from hovering it over the offending words. I joined the crowd and I too looked on amazed.
On the LCD screen of his Iphone was the bag of chips as normal — it appeared as if he was going to snap a photo of it — only the Spanish words from the bag were in English on the phone. A simple hover was all this phone needed to translate, and it not only got the words right but it also keep the colors and formatting of the text as they were on the bag of chips. Basically, this app is able to capture an image of something, identify foreign words, translate them, and then insert near perfectly formatted English words in their place.
The Perth traveler then hovered his phone over a pack of cigarettes. “It works really well on cigarettes,” he said.
The crowd ooo’ed and ahhh’ed as the Spanish warnings on the cigarette pack were mysteriously transformed into English.
I felt like a bushman staring up into the sky at an airplane for the first time. I have no idea the last time I have been amazed by any new technology. This translator seemed to be performing a magical act before me: shape shifting Spanish words into English while keeping the rest of the image pretty much unaltered. How could it do this?
I have no idea.
But I have seen the future of traveler communication. With one of these phones decked out with this app, a traveler can go just about anywhere and communicate through the written word with just about any literate person. All it take is hovering the phone over some unknown words, and the translation is immediately generated.
I suppose it is common for humans to create machines to make life easier for us — to remove our need to learn, think, and do — but this translator app goes over the edge. It was one thing to need to look up words in a foreign language dictionary, it was another to have to type in a word to get a translation, but to just hover a phone over some foreign words and immediately get them translated into your language is truly a step beyond.