ABBY Foto Translate was installed on a Nokia 5800 XPressMusic, an S60 5th edition device with Symbian OS 9.4.
Installation is simply via the Nokia Application Installer available in the Nokia PC Suite. You get different .sis files for different languages.
ABBY Foto Translate, as the name suggests, instantly translates words captured on your S60 Symbian camera phone into the desired language. The concept of snapping a few foreign words and getting their meaning immediately is very exciting. Lets see how well this ambitious idea has been implemented for daily use.
ABBY Foto Translate, is a very simple-to-use application. The use case is for a typical globe trotter, who needs a quick translation of road signs, restaurant menus, news paper headlines, business card and so on. When the visitor in a foreign city needs to translate a magazine article or an instruction manual, he would approach a professional translator for this job. ABBY Foto Translate uses ABBY’s award-winning optical character recognition (OCR) technology for converting images of words into text and mobile dictionary software.
I used the French –> English translator version for my tests. When ABBY Foto Translate is started, it opens the camera view finder with its own interface. You just point the view finder to a block of text and press the on-screen camera button or the hardware camera button.
Remember to have the text appears horizontally on the screen and is parallel to the guiding line, that’s visible on the view finder within ABBY Foto Translate application. The application expects the camera to have auto-focus because it automatically focusses on the word you point to and takes an image.
If the camera’s focus is poor or blocked, ABBY Foto Translate, points this out so that you can adjust the distance of the text from the camera and point it correctly. In the image below, you can also see guiding line which should be parallel to the text.
ABBY Foto Translate not just captures a single word you point at, but all the words that fall within the view finder of the camera. Each word in the captured text is treated as an independent block which is character-recognized and translated for the user. After the image capture and processing is done, you can select any of the words in the captured text to get the translation. As long as ABBY Foto Translate has successfully captured that word as a complete block, you will get the translation perfectly.
I learnt, after may trials, that I should keep the camera at the right distance to capture enough words for translation, but not too far away from the text that ABBY Foto Translate fails to pick words correctly and as unique blocks. When the camera is kept too far away, a whole paragraph is recognized as a single block and fails to be translated. See examples in the images below.
Making sure the camera’s guiding line is parallel to the text and the text is horizontal on the screen is a little cumbersome and it will take many attempts to get it right. Otherwise, its very simple to use.
Many a time, I observed that ABBY Foto Translate didn’t capture the block with precision. Many long words were captured as incomplete blocks and the dictionary failed to return a translation. For e.g., in the image below, the word I wanted to look up was “nous”, but ABBY Foto Translate has blocked the letter S and has given a vague translation! But this is did not happen often. Most of the time, I got the whole words blocked and were translated correctly.
ABBYY Foto Translate is worth a look. It will surprise you by the accuracy and the detailed dictionary it points you to. Its fast too. ANNYY Foto Translate is available for Symbian OS S60 3rd Edition and 5th Edition (v9.1/9.2/9.3/9.4) in English, German and Russian languages. You obviously need a camera, and ABBY recommends a minimum of 2 MP with autofocus for best results.
ABBY Foto Translate is available for 8 languages and doesn’t need an internet connection or mobile network connection is required.
You can download a trial or purchase it here.