Lost in a Foreign Land
July 22, 2019 2:12 PM   Subscribe

Is there a web-based tool to extract foreign-language dialog and captioning from imagery-with-text? And in a perfect world, translate it to English?

I've been sucked into an Instagram vortex of comic art. From Japan, Korea, China, Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, and France (for now). The Spanish and French, I can mostly just type into a translator. On the other hand, I'm struggling with a workaround for Asian writing (logograms? Is that the correct generalization?). For example (SLIG)

I'm open to a whole range of suggestions, not just the hypothetical web tool. Thanks!
posted by j_curiouser to Writing & Language (8 answers total)
Best answer: The Google Translate phone app does this very well. I haven't tried it with Asian writing.
posted by humboldt32 at 2:33 PM on July 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Google Translate (the photo bit) works with printed chinese.
posted by zippy at 5:22 PM on July 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We managed to make Google Translate work in Japan this way.
posted by frumiousb at 7:30 PM on July 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Google Translate (and maps also!) offers offline translation options that do what you're asking for. These are mandatory preloads for me now when I'm travelling.
posted by mhoye at 8:02 PM on July 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Follow-on question: do I have to download an image to 'translate' or does it integrate with images in browsers, fb, Pinterest, etc?
posted by j_curiouser at 8:40 PM on July 22, 2019

Best answer: Google Translate works on photos taken with the phone camera.
posted by Homer42 at 1:08 AM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Google Translate will do live-translation if you point your camera at the screen - I use it all the time on subtitled Japanese videos. Your mileage may definitely vary for handwritten and/or tiny text like the one shown in your example.

You might also want to check out Universal Game Translator mentioned in this FPP - despite the "Game" in the title it should let you take any screenshot and run it through a translator.
posted by Gortuk at 10:28 AM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Google translate by popular demand 🙂 thanks!
posted by j_curiouser at 12:17 PM on July 23, 2019

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