You Can Now Instantly Translate Japanese Words By Pointing Your Phone At It

Google now offers Japanese translation on the Word Lens app giving users the ability to point their smartphone at thousands of kanji text and see what they mean in real-time on the display screen.

Google’s Word Lens app, available as a free download for both iOS and Android users, translates large printed text on-screen when you point your camera in front of it, including street signs and menu items, according to Mashable.

If you don’t speak Japanese, Tokyo can be a confusing and sometimes daunting place to visit. Even if you make it through the complex subway system, you’ll be faced by street signs, menus or products on supermarket shelves that are only in Japanese,” Masakazu Seno, software engineer for Google Translate, wrote in a company blog post.

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Seno added:

With Word Lens now available in Japanese, you’ll never have to worry about taking a wrong turn on a busy Shibuya street or ordering something you wouldn’t normally eat.

And the best part is you don’t even need an Internet connection to get the app to work.

While the Google Translate app already lets users take photos of Japanese characters and receive a translation, Word Lens shows it live as you move the device around.

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The rollout also uses two-way translation, meaning English text can be translated to Japanese, as demonstrated in the Okamoto’s music video for “Lagoon” below.

9to5Mac noted that Google Translate now supports typed-input translation for a total of 103 languages, offline translation for 52 of them and on-screen translations for 30.

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