Cebuano language Google translate
Word Lens lets users translate Cebuano into over 100 languages and vice versa. Credits to Google Philippines.

The Cebuano language from the Philippines can now be understood by worldwide travelers after it was added to Google Translate’s Word Lens, a feature that allows users instant translation using smartphone cameras.

Cebuano, one of the country’s major languages largely spoken in the Visayas and Mindanao islands, was added as one of the new 88 source languages that can be translated in over 100 languages on Google Translate application.

Before the update, Google Translate’s Word Lens only allowed translations from and to English. The update provided for translation of the 88 languages into more than 100 languages.

To use Word Lens in translating Cebuano to 100 languages, the user only needs to hold the phone camera in front of a sign or menu in a foreign language and then the translation instantly overlays on the screen.

Gabby Roxas, Marketing Head for Google Philippines (in coat, left) and Mervin Wenke, Communications and Public Affairs Lead for Google Philippines (in coat, right) demonstrate how Google Translate’s Word Lens can instantly translate signages. Credits to Atom Pornel for Good News Pilipinas.

The instant camera translations are made possible by the built-in Neural Machine Translation technology. Google reports that the use of artificial intelligence results in more accurate and natural translations and reduces errors by 55-85% in certain language pairs.

Most of the languages on Google Translate can be downloaded on the device and can work even without internet access. An internet connection produces higher quality translations.

The addition of Cebuano on the Word Lens along with the adding of native scripts like Baybayin on the Gboard virtual keyboard was announced on August 29 by Google Philippines as part of its closing celebrations of the Buwan ng Wika (National Language Month) in August.

Google’s Baybayin Class of August 2019. Good News Pilipinas joined other Philippine media who were taught to use Baybayin writing on Gboard and Cebuano translations on Google Translate Word Lens. Credits to Google Philippines.

“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 the ways we show this commitment,” Google Philippines Marketing Head Gabby Roxas stated in the media gathering in BGC Taguig.

Google Translate and Gboard are available on the Play Store and App Store.

Google Philippines earlier brought together top news organizations, including Good News Pilipinas, for a Google News Initiative class on online newsgathering.

SEND cheers in the comments below for Google Philippines as it helps preserve and expand the use of our Philippine languages and writing systems! TELL US your experience in using Google Translate Word Lens and Gboard!

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