Google Translate Adds Handwriting Input

Ever had one of those days when you wanted to translate a piece of foreign language text, but it couldn't be simply copy-pasted into a translation box (if it's part of an image or a real-world object), and you had no means to input that text using your En-US keyboard? We did.

The latest addition to Google Translate is a handwriting input feature, which lets you sketch up foreign language text as you see it, using a mouse pointer, or touch (on touchscreen devices). The service then attempts to make sense of your scribbles, and translates it. To use it, simply select your source language, if handwritten input for that language is supported, a "handwrite" option should show up in its "input tools" menu, denoted by a "pencil" icon.

You can then sketch in characters from that foreign language script, using a mouse or your touchscreen, and suggestions for characters and words will appear below as you draw. Select the character or word that appears closest to the source text, and it will be added to the input text box, and translated in real-time.

Handwritten input currently only supports 44 languages, luckily far-east languages like Chinese (Pinyin, Wubi, Zhuyin, and their traditional variants), Japanese, and Korean are on the list; so are languages that use Cyrillic script. Arabic, Persian, and the various Indian languages aren't supported yet, but Google plans to expand that list.