And this is how I came across the TextGrabber + Translator App developed for the iPhone by ABBYY. It has the following features that caught my eye:
- Scans, or takes a picture using the built-in iPhone camera of printed text from books, magazines, documents, etc.
- Extracts the text from the printed text.
- Uses OCR [Optical Character Recognition] technology to recognize and process the text.
- Then produces the "read" & now editable text.
- Allows you to copy the editable text to the iPhone's internal clipboard so that it can be pasted into another app.
- Allows you to send the editable text by email or message to someone.
- Allows you to socially share the editable text through Twitter and Facebook.
- Allows you to send the editable text to Evernote.
- Allows you to perform a Google Search [or another search engine] using the editable text as a search term.
- Provided you buy and download their ABBYY Lingvo Dictionaries app, allows you to look up words and phrases contained in the editable text in the dictionary.
- Allows you to translate the editable text using Google Translate technology and recognizes 60+ languages. And no need to worry about wifi or cell service for this step because it does this offline. [And this should really be good news for Evernote fans and users because I don't think Evernote can translate for you. If it can, lemme know in comments.]
So, you can probably see why I was a wee bit interested in this app for us genealogy and family history researchers, no? For a little more overview take a look at their YouTube video about it:
Don't worry. I took one for the team and tried it out for you. [I'm helpful like that.]
And it does exactly what it says it does. It only has 3 stars with mixed reviews in the App Store, but I absolutely did not get the bad results that some of those reviewers got when I tried it out. It worked like a charm for me.
[And that is a problem with online reviews from folks you don't know. I mean, just how savvy are they with tech, right? And? I found out from my teenaged kids that there are always internet 'trolls' on forums and reviews who say anything to stir things up. I'm not saying these reviewers are actually trolls of any kind. Absolutely not. I'm just saying the possibility exists. BTW, I delete comments from all kinds of trolls so if there are any trolls reading this blog post, your bridge called it wants you back.]
Anywho. I thought I'd also point out that I was especially pleased with the translation and OCR capabilities. I chose an old college Spanish book, Triple Espera, which is a collection of Hispanic American short stories edited by Djelal Kadir to test this out. Was the translation perfect? No, but it was acceptable all things considered, like, you know, Google Translate isn't human.
Also, I was pleased with the scan of the snippet of the cover letter that came with my great-grandmother's and her siblings' baptismal record entry copies. It only had two mistakes with the OCR, and I can see why they came about. Additionally, just to see what happened cuz I was feeling pretty darn lucky, I performed a Google Search within the app of the snippet I scanned and that the app OCRd. [I know. Fancy, right?] And...
It blew up! Gotcha. No, it didn't. I was just kidding to help lighten up this nerdy-techie moment, but as you will see in the slideshow of screenshots I put together for you at the end of this review, the first search result on the search results page is a blog post I wrote about my great-grandmother.
I don't need to tell you how pleased as peach I was about that search result, do I?
Therefore, the TextGrabber + Translator app gets 2 thumbs up from me. But only because I don't have anymore thumbs to give it. If I did, I would.
It's compatible with the following iOS devices:
iPhone, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G, iPad (3rd generation) and iPad Wi-Fi + 4G.Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
For more information take a look at it in the iTunes store or the ABBYY website. It's available in the App Store located on your device to purchase for a whopping .99.
And please do not tell me that's too much money, especially while holding that Grande Starbucks coffee in a venti cup with 2 pumps hazelnut, 2 pumps vanilla, 2 pumps caramel, 2 Equals and 4 Sweet'n'lows filled to the top with cream, with extra cream on the side, double cupped with no sleeve, a stir stick, and stopper put in the top.
[And may I never be behind you in line at Starbucks.]
[Update: The developer of the TextGrabber + Translator App contacted me to thank me for the review, and asked if they could quote from my review for their app in the App Store. Me being shocked that someone was going to quote me, use my name, and send a link back to my review here, I enthusiastically agreed. Also, out of gratitude, they gifted me their ABBYY Lingvo Dictionaries app. I send my thanks out to them, and I look forward to trying it out. They didn't ask, but I will definitely be reviewing it. Genealogists and family historians can always use a language dictionary when we venture beyond the U.S. border in our research. ~C]