Tag Archives: Google Play Store

Use Google Translate with Your Smartphone Camera

 By Tracey Dowdy

 Last summer, when my daughter completed her study abroad program, I had the opportunity to travel with her throughout Spain and France. She had been studying Spanish and living with native Spanish speakers, so our adventures in Barcelona were language-barrier free. However, my French is very basic and très rouillé – very rusty.

I opened every conversation in Bordeaux and Paris with, “Excusez moi, je parle Français comme un enfant,” which translates as, “Excuse me, I speak French like a child.” This generally prompted a laugh, and we’d switch to English. However, my conversation opener wasn’t much help if I came across unfamiliar words in the train station or on a menu, two places you don’t necessarily want to go with a roll of the dice.

Thank God for Google Translate. I’ve long used it for translation in my work, but this trip showcased its diversity and ability to translate everything from handwritten notes to street signs.

A recent update to the Google Translate camera tool has added 60 additional languages for a total of 88 languages in its database. One of the best features of this update is the app’s ability to detect what language is being used. This is particularly helpful if you’re translating similar yet distinctly different languages like Spanish and Portuguese.

Here’s how to use Translate text using your phone’s camera:

  • Download the app on iTunes or the Google Play Store.
  • Tap your Camera icon, and once you’ve noted the features available, tap Continue.
  • You’ll need to give Google Translate permission to access your camera. If you have privacy concerns, you can always go in and manually change your settings when you’re not using the app.
  • Once you’ve given permission, your in-app camera will open.
  • Change the languages at the top to Detecting Language and the language you want to be your default/preferred language.
  • Point your camera at the text you want to translate.
  • If you want a still frame of the text, Tap Pause translation.
  • When you’re ready, select Continue Translation and move to the next set of text to be translated.

You can also pull up a picture from your phone’s camera roll to be translated.

  • Open the Google Translate app
  • Select the Camera icon.
  • Tap Import in the bottom right corner.
  • Select the photo.
  • Use your finger to highlight the text to be translated.
  • Alternatively, you can tap the Scan icon. This allows you to snap a picture translate with a swipe of your finger. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

podcast for kids

Podcasts for Your Next Family Roadtrip

 By Tracey Dowdy

 If you’re like millions of Americans, at some point this summer you’ll be loading up your vehicle for a good ol’ fashioned road trip. There’s only so many hours you can fill with the license plate game, and if you’re trying to still maintain some kind of control over screen time, podcasts are a great alternative. Everyone loves a good story, and no matter your age or interest, there’s a podcast for that.

Kids Listen surveyed 400 parents about their kids listening habits and found that 80% of kids listen to a podcast more than once, and 20% of those kids listen to a single podcast episode more than 10 times!

And, according to the Audio Publishing Association, comprehension, vocabulary, reading speed, even motivation are all positively impacted by auditory learning, so listening to a podcast won’t only entertain them, it’ll make them smarter!

Here are some of the most popular podcasts for your kids:

Story Pirates

Story Pirates is an audio show narrated by actors, comedians, and entertainers like Dax Shepard, Wyatt Cenac, Claire Danes, John Oliver, and Patton Oswalt. Each episode features a story written by kids, and with titles like “Evil Cockroach Nation,” “Vampire Quest,” “Eat a Spider Day,” and “The Hamster’s Workday,” you know there’s a lot of laughs in store. (iTunes)

What If World

If you’ve ever had to answer round after round of seemingly pointless, or brain-bending questions, have we got a podcast for you. Abacus P Grumbler, Randall Radbot, and Whendiana Joan help Mr. Eric tell stories that answer kid-submitted questions like “What if a tiny dragon lived in my closet?” “What if basketballs and baseballs were alive?” or “What if cats ruled the world?” Mr. Eric makes these worlds come alive and helps kids stretch their imagination as they daydream along with the story.  (iTunesGoogle Play)

Spare the Rock Spoil the Child

Spare the Rock Spoil the Child is the most fun you’ll ever have introducing your kids to your music. From the wacky theme song to eclectic playlists with everyone from They Might Be Giants to Stevie Wonder, and Carole King with a few kid-favorites thrown in, you’ll have a blast exploring old and new favorites together. (iTunes)

Five Minutes With Dad

Dad Nick Pavlidis and his elementary aged kids Pavlos and Angela share their thoughts on family, friends, and life in general. Each episode allows you to listen in on a little father-son and daddy-daughter time as they have organic, authentic conversations, and learn how best to communicate and problem solve together. Past episodes include, “Why Moms Rock!” “How to Be Kind at School,” and “What to Do When You Make a Mistake.” It’s the perfect podcast to help you with family or parenting resources, kid’s activities, and ideas on how to spend quality time between you and your kids.  (iTunesGoogle Play)

Wow in the World

From the brilliant minds at NPR comes Wow in the World. But before you think “No way – NPR is way too stuffy for kids!” Let me tell you that the one of the first topics explored is the question, “How do astronauts poop in space?” Now tell me that isn’t going to get your eight-year-old son’s attention. Each episode hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz take listeners on journey into the wonders of the world around them and explore science and technology.

Circle Round

Created by parents, Circle Round takes carefully-selected folktales from around the world and transforms them into dynamic and engaging radio plays for kids ages 4 to 10 narrated by actors like Ed Asner, Tony Hale, and Richard Kind. Each episode explores topics relevant to kids like kindness, persistence, and generosity, and ends with an activity designed to start a meaningful conversation between children and grown-ups. (iTunes)

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Get Free eBooks from the Library

By Tracey Dowdy

 One of your library’s best kept-secrets – though I doubt it’s on purpose – is that most local public libraries have a partnership with one or more digital-lending services. That means with nothing more than a library card, and a compatible eReader, phone, or tablet, thousands of books are available for you to download.

You can easily download ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, or even music, comics, movies and TV shows depending on which third-party service your library has partnered with.

To get started, go to your library’s web site and log in with your library card.  Next, search for a menu titled “eLibrary” or “Downloads,” or something similar. It will connect you with either Hoopla Digital or OverDrive, again, depending on which resource they’ve partnered with.

OverDrive allows you to borrow ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines from your library using your phone or tablet. Choose from New York Times Bestsellers or Marvel Comics and everything in between. There’s also a section of Rachel Kray’s recommendations. Kray, a Librarian and Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive, has suggestions in fun categories like “Desert Island Reads,” and “Books the Cats of Overdrive Recommend.” If there’s a wait list at your library for a specific title, you can add your name to the waiting list and OverDrive will alert you when the title becomes available. You can even set up an automatic checkout once it becomes available.

OverDrive also has Sora – a student reading app. Students can download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or go to soraapp.com. Once you’ve created your account, search for your school (or enter your school’s setup code), and sign in. From here, students can browse the Explore tab and choose a book to borrow. It downloads immediately and is added to the user’s “Shelf” that lists all downloaded books and assignments, making it easy to browse titles.

Hoopla Digital allows you to borrow movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics, and TV shows to enjoy on your computer, tablet, phone, or smart TV. There are thousands of titles available with no waiting list, and you’re never charged a late fee for the items that you borrow from Hoopla as items are automatically checked back in at the end of the lending period (72 hours for TV and movies, and seven days for music). Users are allowed up to five Hoopla checkouts per month. And best of all for parents, anyone with a Juvenile library card is barred from checking out R-rated content. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.