Translation related Android applications

Android is the Operating System for mobile devices developed by Google as a competitor to Windows Mobile, Nokia’s Symbian, Blackberry OS and others. Version 1.0 of Android was released in February 2009 and since then it has undergone several upgrades with the latest version 2.2 released in May 2010. Google took over Android Inc. the original developers of Android OS. Android is based on Linux OS kernel and GNU software. It has been developed with the aim of furthering open standards for mobile devices and a consortium of 71 hardware, software and telecom companies formed the Open Handset Alliance in Nov 2007 for developing and distributing Android based mobile devices like cell phones, netbooks, etc. The source code of Android is available to the public under the open source license. Android has already become very popular among manufacturers of mobile devices like Motorola etc. and has captured the No.2 spot among all smart phones sold in Q1 of 2010 in U.S. with a market share of 28% behind Blackberry OS. There is a large community of Android application developers with over 70,000 apps available currently and more than 1 billion downloads. These apps increase the functionality of the Android devices and include such diverse applications like voice service, translation, finance application, astronomy, maps, places and shopping directory etc. We review some of the translation related Android apps in this and subsequent blogs. These apps would prove handy mainly for people on the move in foreign lands. Their vocabulary is limited to words and phrases under day to day use and they cannot be a substitute for accurate translations of documents etc. for which services of a professional translation agency has to be sought. Google Translate This is one of the most popular translation applications developed and made available for free by Google for use by those who are browsing the internet. Google Translate can translate entire web pages or just a few phrases and the Android version of the app is available for the mobile devices market. The application also has audio option wherein one can hear the translated word or phrase. Further there is also speech to speech facility in which a spoken word in one language can be translated to spoken word or text in another language. It has a simple user interface where the user just has to choose the source and target languages and start translating almost immediately. Google Translate can handle 51 different languages and several language pairs directly or indirectly via translation into English and then the chosen target language. English to French translation and other popular languages like Spanish, German etc. is done instantly with direct translation.