There’s a fight brewing in translation-ville. Google, which has done a great job of beating many established players with its fairly useful Web-based translation tools (apps, too).
Microsoft has officially released its new Microsoft Translator app for iOS and Android. The app works with smartphones, tablets, and Android Wear smartwatches—as well as the Apple Watch. It’s pretty easy to use, too. Pull up the app on the device of your choosing and either type or talk the word or phrase that you need a translation for.
Wearables are a fascinating place to understand user experiences for translation. No other type of device allows people to interact with so little physical intrusion from the device itself— PC’s, tablets, and even phones can be occasionally awkward and unnatural in the middle of a conversation. With these smart devices, we want to learn how people use the apps and how effective the translation experiences can be.
The app can do a little bit more than just raw translation, too. If there are certain translations that you find yourself always needing—”I don’t speak [language],” for example—you can pin then within the app itself for easy access. You can also pull up a history of words or phrases you’ve previously translated, in case you want to go back and do a bit of learning while you’re killing some time on the train / bus / wherever. The app supports 50 or so languages in total, which is nearly double the amount currently supported by Google’s Translate app.