07
Feb
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Those of you lucky enough to be visiting Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics might not have opulent luxuries like floors or potable water, but at least getting around town will be a little easier thanks to the Word Lens app. The developers added support for Russian today, allowing users to translate signs, menus, and other text on the fly.

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If you've never used Word Lens, then you really should, at least if you're frequently traveling to places that don't speak your native language.

05
Dec
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Wondering what that sign says, but you don't speak the lingo? You might want to figure it out – signs convey important information. Maybe it says "keep off the grass," but it could also say "high risk of electric shock." Word Lens can help with that by doing live translation of text using optical character recognition and the camera. It's neat, and the newest version adds support for tablets.

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29
May
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Word Lens is the kind of app that might not get daily use, but when you do fire it up, it can save your bacon with fast offline translations. This is not just any translation app, though. Word Lens uses your device's camera to overlay the text translation using optical character recognition. Well, this app just got a nice little update to version 2.1 with some new features.

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Word Lens now supports Portuguese ⇄ English translations, but it's not included with the app.

15
May
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Between Hangouts, the gorgeous new Maps, Play Music All Access, and everything else discussed in I/O's opening keynote this morning, several revisions to the Play Store developer's console were announced.

Perhaps the most interesting addition to the console will be an organized method for alpha and beta testing, and staged rollouts.  Basically, developers can select alpha and beta testers, receiving all feedback directly (instead of through reviews) and, when the time comes, roll out the app to certain percentages of the user base.

27
Mar
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Google Translate has always been one of the unsung heroes of the free service space. On the one hand, it doesn't provide a perfect translation, so people are still hesitant to call it a true breakthrough. On the other hand, we use it all the time to translate web pages enough to get the gist and, when combined with speech-to-text and text-to-speech, you can use the Android app as the closest thing to a universal translator in your pocket the world has ever seen.

26
Mar
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Recently, Google quietly began to test auto translation for app reviews in the developer console. Today, the company publicly announced that same feature and began rolling it out to all devs. Now, when they log in to their control panel, they can see the reviews in their preferred language, along with the original text. Neat.

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Of course, this still isn't a replacement for  native fluency, but it should aid developers in troubleshooting problems that users on the other side of the language barrier discover.

20
Feb
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WordLens is one of those borderline-magical apps that make me feel like I'm living in a scifi novel. The initial release was a little buggy, and the UI made it clear the app was a direct port from iOS. The 2.0 update just dropped, though, and it takes care of a lot of those issues.

2013-02-20 20.30.27 2013-02-20 20.29.53 2013-02-20 20.33.37

If you've never heard of WordLens, here's the deal: hold your phone up to a sign or some other thing with words on it, and WordLens uses your camera to translate those words to another language of your choosing in real time.

12
Dec
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Vocre, a voice and text translator that won audience choice in TechCrunch's Disrupt, came to Android today, bringing with it a promising challenger to Google's own Translate app and a "tabletop UI" meant specifically for extended conversations with those on either side of the language barrier.

As shown in the video above, Vocre's interface is exceedingly simple. Users need only select languages and genders, then record their message, check for accuracy, and let the app do the rest.

10
Oct
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Last Updated: October 15th, 2012

According to a Czech press release unearthed by The Verge, Microsoft may be readying native Office apps for Android. As of right now, the only programs that have mobile versions on the Play Store are OneNote and Lync. Otherwise known as "the ones very few people care about." If this report is to be believed, though, we may see native versions of the entire Office suite.

According to the Verge's translations, Microsoft said this:

"In addition to Windows, Office will be also available on other operating systems, Windows Phone, Windows RT, Mac OS, Android, iOS and Symbian"

Redmond, by way of the Czech Republic, also pointed out that there would be new versions of its Office Web Apps.

27
Jul
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Word Lens, the sometimes jittery but generally impressive visual language translator, is getting in the Olympic spirit. For a limited time, the language packs—which are acquired via in-app purchases to unlock full translation support—are being offered for $2.99 per pack, which is $2 off the normal price of $4.99. Huzzah!

It comes at a particularly poignant time. As the Olympic games get underway and the world remembers there's more that the nations of earth do together than wage war and make gadgets, Word Lens can be helpful in breaking down the language barrier and acting as a catalyst for that type of international camaraderie.

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