Google has unveiled the prototype of an instant translation service for English-speaking tourists faced with a bewildering foreign menu.
It’s in its very early development stages and, at the moment, only works with German, but I gather it’s an extension of Google Goggles, which lets users search the web by pointing their smartphone rather than typing text.
It uses optical character recognition technology to scan written words and converts them to computer text, which is then fed through Google Translate. Hey Presto! The menu is converted into English on your phone.
Google demonstrated this latest gizmo at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week.
The search giant’s Product Marketing Manager, Andrew Gomez, said:
“Imagine being in a foreign country staring at a restaurant menu you can’t understand, a waiter impatiently tapping his foot at your table side.”
“You, a vegetarian, have no idea whether you’re about to order spaghetti with meatballs or veggie pesto. What would you do?”
I’m tempted to say ‘just eat the spaghetti and leave the meatballs’, but I don’t like to stand in the way of technological advancement.
by Andy Moreton