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Shoot-to-Translate: killer mobile phone app for travelers

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April 6, 2008

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April 7, 2008 Nokia unveiled a plethora of mobile phone functionality concepts last October at The Way We Live Next briefing in Finland and tucked away behind the high profile apps was a simple shoot-to-translate function. Inveterate traveler Dave Weinstein dropped in at CTIA last week and reports that he focussed straight away on the cameraphone translator that can supposedly translate Chinese to English from a photo taken on the phone. “You can imagine how useful it would be for me, but it was just a technology demo. They wouldn't let me load the app on my phone or tell me any real info about it”, says Dave, who spends most of his time in Beijing these days.

The more we tried, the less we could find out. Indeed, it seems the entire body of knowledge external to Nokia centres around a paragraph in the The Way We Live Next briefing press release, a short demo and a photo they released.

The released text reads: “Shoot to Translate: a demonstration using software that translates written characters into another language; the original text is captured with the camera on the Nokia multimedia computer and translation happens in real time.”

Let’s hope it’s not all smoke-and-mirrors – this is a killer app for travellers!

Anybody got any more info?

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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