Google has finally released it's text translation feature for its Goggles app. If you've got an Android phone, this one is definitely worth looking at.
Basically, you point your phone's camera at some sort of text, like a food menu or sign, you then select the region of text you want translated, and if the Goggle app recognizes the text you get the option to translate.
I've written about this translate feature when it was first in prototype. Back then, it could only recognize German text. This new rollout can read English, French, Italian, German and Spanish and then translate to other languages.
Google addressed the fact the application doesn't work perfectly just yet. The company stated in a blog post, "Computer vision is a hard problem. While we are excited about Goggles v1.1, we know that there are many images that we cannot yet recognize. The Google Goggles team is working on solving the technical challenges required to make computers see."
Another problem I could see arising from using an application like this while traveling, are the costly data usage charges. As we all know, data roaming in foreign countries can definitely rack up some obnoxious bills. As I've mentioned before, it would be great and more useful if this feature was fully integrated into the application instead of having to upload and communicate with Google's servers in order to get your text translated. It might require a larger sized application, but well worth the size.
If you want to give this feature a try, you have to download the Goggles v1.1 update, which only works on devices that run Android 1.6 or higher.