Microsoft has announced the release of Bing Translator for Windows 8, a free app which builds on its previous Translator App for Windows Phone.
At its simplest the program allows you to type a phrase or two, and see these translated immediately to your language of choice.
You can also translate text from other apps. Select the first few paragraphs of a news story, say, click Share > Bing Translator, and your text will appear within a few seconds. Or you can use Windows Snap to leave Bing Translator visible, then copy and translate text from whatever app you like.
The app can also translate text from images, or anything your camera can view: signs, menus, newspapers, whatever it might be.
A text to speech option allows you to hear your translations as they would be spoken by a native speaker.
And while translation normally requires a web connection, download the optional language packs and the app will also work (though perhaps with reduced accuracy) when you’re offline.
There’s nothing too revolutionary here, then, but Bing Translator for Windows 8 did work well in our tests, and easy translation via the Share charm is a definite plus.
If you’re concerned about privacy, though, you might want to pay close attention to the Bing Translator licence agreement, which states that “if you use the camera translation feature in the app, your image information will be sent to Microsoft. We use the image information to improve Microsoft products and services.”