In Praise of the Google Translate App

IMG_1044If I were inclined to write poetry today (I’m not– the muse is not in the building), I would write an ode to the Google Translate app. As you may or may not know, in my job  I work mostly in mobile app support for the WordPress app. Since 27% of the Internet runs on WordPress, and many users worldwide use the app, I get a lot of issues in languages I don’t understand. Generally a cut-and-paste into a translate tool works wonders, but it gets problematic when someone send in a screenshot of an issue. That’s when this app comes in really handy.

I have the Google Translate App for both Android and iPhone.  When I get a screenshot, I open the app, download the applicable language then select camera in the app, and I get a translation. This has been invaluable in my work habits. And I’ve also found it really handy in travel.

When Chris and I were in Perugia, we hit the amazing National Archaeological Museum with fabulous history, but very little in regards to English translations. No problem. The app totally covered that, and we learned all sorts of stuff about amulets and recoveries from archaeological digs. So cool.

Now that we are spending a month in a new home in a land where we are far from fluent in the native language, we’re finding the app super handy in basic tasks such as grocery shopping. When you want to make a bean stew and aren’t sure which canned bean is which? The app comes to the rescue.

And it totally saved me from accidentally getting lemon tea when I thought I was getting mint.

It doesn’t just do images. I can type a phrase in English and have it translate to another language. I write my sentence, find a store-keeper, and point to the screen. We are all much happier and effective in our communications, I find.

Oatmeal – Aveia?
We don’t have it – Nós não temos isso.
Communication effectively achieved (I’m not thrilled with the result, but now at least I know to not keep scanning shelves fuitlessly).

Yay, app!

Find My Friends App – Yes, Your Mother is Watching…

This morning my son in college Skyped me, telling me that he had a new family-friendly electronic tool for me to write about. I was about five minutes ahead of him, having just downloaded it, which made me feel really good. That’s right, ladies and gents, the free Find My Friends app  is live and ready for download in the iTunes store.
The purpose of this iPod/iPhone/iPad app is to show people where you are and to help you find your friends.
Not really. You have control of who sees you and when. Friends are added by invite only, and you can choose whether they add you for a certain period of time or indefinitely. Adding friends is simple. Tap on the icon with the people at the bottom of your screen and an invite message appears.
If you have guests with 3G, you can track them as they travel to your home. This helps you pop dinner in the oven in a timely manner. It can also help if they have traveling difficulties. You will know right where they are so you can offer appropriate help.
I’m curious to see how accurate the tracking is. Will it locate my children if they are in town? We’ll try to figure that out within the next few days, and I’ll get back to this blog with our discoveries. For now, I can look at my screen and know that my son is safely tucked away at his college, and it makes me feel connected to him. That’s always a good thing.
UPDATE: Well, I’d have to say it’s pretty accurate. I “found” my cousin in Boston, and I can tell when my son is in class, in his dorm or out on the town. Very impressive.

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