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Have You Tried The Google Translate App’s New Word Lens Feature?

Have You Tried The Google Translate App’s New Word Lens Feature?

Thanks to a recent update to the Google Translate app, the ability to travel, live, and do business abroad has never been easier.  The recent additions and improvements to the app make conversing in and navigating around a foreign country as simple as aiming a smartphone camera or speaking into a microphone.

Translate Text, in Real Time, Without an Internet Connection

The most notable new enhancement to Google Translate is the Word Lens feature, which was developed as its own app in 2010 by a company called Quest Visual.  This app allowed users to merely hold their phone up to a sign or printed text and have it translated immediately.  As such, it was no wonder that Google wanted to own it.

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Now a part of Google Translate, this feature currently translates text from French, German, Italian, Portugese, Russian, and Spanish into English, and vice versa.  Google indicates it plans to support even more languages in the future.  For those that aren’t already offered, users can use Camera Mode, which allows them to take a photo, highlight the text, and obtain a translation.  This feature is available in 36 languages.

One of the biggest perks to the new Word Lens feature is that it works even without an Internet or data connection.  This allows travelers to translate on the go without having to pay an exorbitant amount of money for an international data plan.

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Conversations Flow Seamlessly

The second most notable feature of the new Google Translate is its ability to detect which language is being spoken when used in its speech or conversation mode.  Historically, the app required users to manually select the language for translation before each new phrase was spoken.  With the newest release, the need only indicate the two languages at the initial setup.  The app does the work after that, allowing conversations to flow much more naturally.

As a North American expat living in the Latin tropics, I’m often asked for advice on breaking down the language barrier when traveling or relocating abroad.  With these new features and improvements, the Google Translate app is a resource I recommend to help ease that transition.

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Still a Few Bugs to Work Out

That being said, the app certainly isn’t without its flaws.  The Word Lens app struggles with translating handwriting or particularly intricate text or fonts.  As a result, it occasionally makes mistakes.  Likewise, the conversation mode will sometimes come up with something totally wonky that scarcely resembles the actual words spoken.  All in all, though, it’s usually pretty accurate and does a great job of getting the point across.

The app is free to download from the App Store, and it’s available for both iPhone and iPad and on the Google Play Store for Android users.

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Featured photo credit: spanish-learn-speech-translation-375830/jairojehuel via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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