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Accessibility Google Translate

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Overall rating:
  • 5/5

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Video review

  • Full screen message
  • Tap to translate
  • Handwriting
  • Main Menu
  • Real-time translation

What does it consist of:

Google Translate is the most popular application for translating in many languages. In this case, we have approached this application from a different perspective, to publicize what it can contribute to the world of people with disabilities, especially for people with reduced or null vision.

The google translation functionality can also be used through a web browser, but in this case we are going to focus on the free application that can be installed on Smartphone and Table in both Android and iOS systems since they are the formats that best integrate accessibility .

  • Translate between 103 languages ​​by typing
  • Tap to Translate: copy text into any application and its translation will appear
  • Offline: translate 59 languages, even if you don't have an internet connection
  • Instant camera translation: instantly translate texts in 38 languages ​​with your camera
  • Camera mode: Take photos of text to get translations.
  • Conversation mode: two-way instant voice translation in 32 languages
  • Handwriting: draw characters in 93 languages ​​instead of using the keyboard

Forms of Acquisition:

The Google translator is an application that can be purchased for free for Smartphone and tablet in both iOS and Android versions.

To purchase the Android version of the application, click on the following link:

To purchase the iOS version of the application, click on the following link:

Technical verification:

The innovations that the Google Translate application has been incorporating in recent times have made it go from being a simple translator to also adding a voice and text communication and identification tool with enormous potential.

In this case, we do an analysis of the potential that these new features may have for people with reduced or no vision and in some cases also for people with reduced mobility.

The Google translator has several input methods of the language to be translated:

Camera

For this functionality, use is made of the rear camera of the Smartphone from which the image is taken, being able to choose two different modes of translation:

  • Text can be scanned with the camera in real time, so that the translated text is superimposed on the original text of the image. This option is not very useful in the case of people with vision difficulties, but it can be really useful for people with manipulation difficulties who prefer to superimpose the mobile instead of writing text.

  • Another option that allows is to take a photograph of the text so that it is analyzed in a more precise way and a translation in text format is delivered to us. This option obtains much more accurate translations than the previously discussed real-time option.

Handwriting

Handwriting allows the writing of characters on the screen in the form of handwriting, so that google can interpret what type of font is being entered and offer a translation into the desired language. This option is useful for languages ​​with complex characters such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese or Russian, in which we do not have references and the easiest thing is to draw them on the screen for interpretation.

We do not consider this feature to be very useful for people with vision difficulties at the moment.

Voz

Text input by voice is a feature that relies on Google's voice recognition systems. This is the main value that the application provides to users with reduced or no vision, as well as to those users with difficulties to enter text using the keyboard. Speech recognition works really well and allows you to enter all the text to be translated using this form and quickly get the translated text.

Conversation

This functionality allows using voice recognition to maintain a conversation between two people with different languages. Voice recognition is able to differentiate between the two speakers by dividing their sentences on both sides of the screen and offering an instant translation of said conversation.

Full screen function

This functionality is very useful for communicating information to third parties. Take, for example, the case of a deaf or deafblind person who wants to show information to other people outside of their native language environment.

Voice synthesis

In addition to its ability to be used with screen readers on both Android and iOS, the Google translator incorporates a voice synthesizer that communicates the text aloud in the language to be translated and in the language to which we have translated.

"Touch to translate" within other applications

Google Translate also allows you to activate a pop-up icon in its settings menu that is superimposed on different applications and offers the possibility of clicking to quickly translate messages within those applications.

Let's put ourselves in the case of a person who uses WhatsApp and wants to quickly view the translation of the different messages in a conversation.

This feature makes it easy to quickly copy and paste without having to switch applications on the screen as the translator will overlap the application in use.

Offline translation

Offline is allowed as long as the required language packs have been downloaded:

  • Translation via keyboard entered text
  • Translation of images both in real time and by photo.

Offline is not allowed:

  • Entering text by voice
  • Simultaneous conversation translation
  • On-screen handwriting input

To download the language packages that you will need in your destination, you must access the Offline translation section of the configuration menu.

Conclusion

It is clear that accessibility is a field that Android and Google are trying to incorporate into most of their products, which they have been doing progressively and which is having more and more impact on the lives of users with different needs.

In this case, the google translator incorporates a series of functionalities that make it a perfect tool for multi-language communication.

Highlights:

  • It is the most used app for translation that incorporates great accessibility options, it is not a dedicated app specifically for blind people and we believe that this is the way to go.
  • Numerous text input options (camera, handwriting, voice, keyboard)
  • It works on different operating systems and devices of all manufacturers, be it PC, Tablet or Smartphone.

Improvement points:

  • It is difficult to demand more from such a powerful tool, but accessibility is a very broad field, so it can be proposed that future versions take into account other needs such as the use of pictograms or sign language and their conversion from or to different Languages.
  • Design and manufacturing: 5 5 on.
    5
    This section refers to the physical aspects and details of the manufacturing of the technological product
  • User experience: 4 5 on.
    4
    This criterion is linked to the user's assessment when relating to the technical product or application.
  • Technical benefits: 5 5 on.
    5
    Description of the quality of the technical specifications of the technological solution
  • Accessibility: 5 5 on.
    5
    It is the degree to which people can use or access a product, technological solution or service, regardless of their technical, cognitive or physical abilities

Social valuation:

We have tested the Google translator application with our volunteer Andrés. Andrés is a blind person who does not speak languages ​​other than Spanish. For him this application has been a window into a world of new possibilities.

The first thing Andrés checks in an application is that he can move correctly through his Iphone terminal, aided by the screen reader through the different menus of the application. In this case, the application is perfectly labeled and allows a complete interaction with all its functionalities. 

Apart from its use through the screen reader, the possibility of using voice synthesis allows you to quickly check the correct pronunciation of words in the foreign language. This is important as screen readers are optimized for the language in which the phone is used, so the pronunciation that the synthesizer uses in the translated language is much more accurate.

The use of voice recognition has a very high quality of identification, being able to recognize practically all the expressions that have been desired to be translated. 

This saves Andrés from having to enter all the text using the keyboard as it is a tedious task in combination with screen readers.

At the same time, the simultaneous conversation allows to hold a conversation and translate it in real time also without the need to enter the text using the keyboard. 

On the other hand, Google translator becomes the perfect text recognition tool for Andres by making use of its camera recognition functionality. In addition, this function allows you to get a translation of the text recognized by the camera instantly. This recognition can be done, although with less precision than with print, for handwriting.

For Andrés, this is a very good application, well labeled, which takes a while to learn but offers many possibilities. It makes life easier for a blind person because it covers almost all the parameters that may be needed: 

  • Real-time conversation
  • Speech recognition and synthesis
  • Handwriting
  • Text recognition
  • Impact and utility: 4 5 on.
    4
    Describes to what extent the functionalities of the product are useful and impact on improving the life of the user
  • Usability and accessibility: 4 5 on.
    4
    Possibility of the device to be used, understood and taken advantage of under equal conditions for anyone
  • Design and ergonomics: 4 5 on.
    4
    Assessment of how the design of the technological solution adapts to the person to achieve greater comfort and efficiency when using it
  • Ease of Acquisition: 5 5 on.
    5
    It refers to the possibilities of accessing and acquiring a technological solution by the user.

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