The keyboard apps are coming in thick and fast for iOS 8 — which finally opened up Apple’s mobile platform to Qwerty disruption.
Earlier this week we came across Phraseboard, a keyboard that puts custom phrases at your fingertips for speedier texting. Now here’s another keyboard that can deal with whole sentences at a time — although not to speed up the basic typing process but rather for faster translation.
The Translator Keyboard for iOS 8 can translate what you’ve typed into one of 44 other languages — including French, Spanish and even Welsh. Beth annisgwyl!
The app, which is the work of UK developer Steven Barnegren, is using the Microsoft Translate API to do the grunt work of turning whatever you’ve typed into fair foreign phrasing.
So how does it work? Swiping left along the top of the keyboard brings in the language selection interface where you can specify your current language and the one you want to translate your words into.
Once back in keyboard view you type whatever it is you want to say — and this appears within a bar at the top of the keyboard (with support for autocorrect). Once you’re done typing you hit the translate button at the bottom corner of the keyboard and a translated version of your text appears on the screen. Et voila!
It’s a neat function, although my one complaint is with the keyboard action, rather than the translation. Currently it seems rather unresponsive so can feel slow to type on. Add to that, the delete key only erases one letter at a time per tap, with no speedy delete if you hold it down.
Similarly you can’t select, copy or paste text into the translation box — which can also slow things down. Plus it’s a pretty small working area so you’re probably going to want to translate in chunks, a sentence at a time, say. But that likely helps the quality of the translation.
So, while not perfect, if you’re tired of Googling for an exact foreign phrase the Translator Keyboard still offers a shortcut way to do that — without having to leave whatever it is you’re writing and fire up a browser. Sorry Google.
The app is currently priced at $1.99 on the App Store. Check out a few screenshots below.
And if you’re still hunting for the perfect iOS 8 keyboard check out our recent round-up of nine alternative iOS 8 keyboards.