GoogleTranslateGoogle recently released an updated version of their (free) smartphone app, "Google Translate". This app is perfect for filmmakers!

Google Translate turns your smartphone into an interpretor who can understand around 100 languages. It can read, and speak all of these languages fluently and humanly -- unlike the robotic Siri that still struggles to even understand simple English spoken by someone with the slightest accent.

To use the app, first select the two languages to translate from/into. Such as English/Japanese. Next, you click on how you will input the material. You have choices to: 1) either handwrite or type some text; 2) to photograph a sign or printed page (such as a menu); or 3) to conduct a live conversation over the mic.

If you press the camera button, you can just aim your phone at a sign or any printed material, and the program will recognize text and replace it with the translation. That simple!

To hold a conversation, just press the mic button and have either of you speak. Google will show you the original phrase on screen while it SPEAKS the translation aloud for the other party to hear. When the other party speaks, it will show their original phrase onscreen in the original language, and then translate and speak it in English (or whatever second language you chose).

I have tried it with some of my foreign students, and Google successfully translated between English and Japanese, Italian, and Korean.

Just imagine how useful this tool can be on the road.