This week's app is a "must have" on Windows Phone : "Translator" by Microsoft. By now you must already think that it is one more boring translation app... Hold on... you might be surprised!
When is it that the use of the a translation app is the most critical? When you are abroad of course ! Trying to figure out what is written on a menu in a restaurant or trying to get around in a foreign city. The problem is that most apps rely on an internet connection to their work done but this is impossible when you are abroad and don't want to spend a fortune on 3G roaming costs! This app is different. If lets you download language packs so you can use the app even when you are offline. For free! Thankfully the packages are pretty light and will only take up a few tens of megabytes on your phone. I have already downloaded the French<-> English package hoping I will get some vacation soon ;-)
What about the input?
Of course you have the standard "keyboard" mode that let's you type in word or phrases to translate. This is great when you just want to quickly get the meaning of a word you just read in a book or when you are writing an essay.
But what about when you are traveling and you are surrounded of words you don't understand or even can't read like Chinese? For these situations the app integrates a great augmented reality tool. All you have to do is to point your phone at what you want to translate and it will overlay the translated text and adapt it as you move. It works astonishingly well and really make you an explore. This would have come really handy last time I was in Asia !
Finally there is also a voice mode that let's you speak the phrase you want to translate and a voice will speak it out for you in the foreign language. What a great feature when you have troubles communicating abroad or when you are too lazy to type on your keyboard ;-) Of course all three input methods are available when working with the offline packages.
Here is a great video from the team that led the development of the application :
<a href="http://www.bing.com/videos/browse?mkt=en-us&vid=c0b91059-9ce0-477f-a391-53fbb53c061e&from=shareembed-syndication&src=FLPl:embed:syndication:uuids&from=sp^en-us" target="_new" title="New Translator App for Windows Phone Powered by Bing Available for Free Download" data-mce-href="http://www.bing.com/videos/browse?mkt=en-us&vid=c0b91059-9ce0-477f-a391-53fbb53c061e&from=shareembed-syndication&src=FLPl:embed:syndication:uuids&from=sp^en-us">Video: New Translator App for Windows Phone Powered by Bing Available for Free Download</a>
Curious about how it works? Go and download it right now and test it out, it's free ! :-D
Feel free to comment and let me know what you think about the app !