MANILA, Philippines – Google’s Word Lens, a feature within the Google Translate app that allows for instant translation using a phone’s camera, can now handle Cebuano.
Using the feature, one only needs to train their camera on lines of text – a sign for example – to have the text translated on-screen from Cebuano and 87 other source languages into more than 100 languages. It’s a useful tool for travelers who want to have signs or menus written in a foreign language easily translated.
Below is a sample provided by Google:
“This update is helpful for tourists to communicate with the locals better and understand Cebu’s culture more. Users who are already familiar with Cebuano can still use the tool to learn other languages as well,” says Google.
Along with the Word Lens update, Google has also added Filipino indigenous writing systems on their virtual keyboard, Gboard, These are Buhid, Hanunuo, Tagbanwa, and Baybayin. Google mentions the annual publication Ethnologue: Languages of the World, which said that 175 of the 185 officially listed Philippine languages are indigenous, with 11 that may be vanishing soon.
Here's how it appears:
“With the 4 newly added native scripts, the virtual keyboard now makes it easier for users to discover and try writing in some of the country’s ethnic writing systems,” says Google.
Gboard also currently supports 19 languages from the Philippines: Tagalog, Central Bikol, Koronadal Blaan, Rinconada Bikol, Chavacano, Cebuano, Capiznon, Cuyonon, Hiligaynon, Ilocano, Itawit, Kankanaey, Kinaray-A, Maguindanao, Maranao, Pangasinan, Kapampangan, Tausug, and Waray.
“At Google, we are committed to helping preserve the country’s local languages and scripts through relevant technology. Adding more Filipino languages and scripts on helpful products like Translate and Gboard is one of many ways we show this commitment,” says Gabby Roxas, marketing head, Google Philippines.