If you’re learning Chinese and haven’t heard of Optical Character Recognition (OCR), then you must have been living under a rock. Using OCR you need only point your phone at some Chinese text to have the English translation displayed on the screen.
There’s a few OCR capable apps on Android at the moment, the most prominent other being Pleco. The Hanping offering is a bit different than the Pleco OCR, however, in that you align the text behind the OCR “bar”. The app then auto-captures the image and displays a translation of all of the recognisable words in the pane below. Pleco OCR, on the other hand, uses an adjustable capture box that you resize to fit the characters.
We’ll have a full review of the app in the coming days, but my initial thoughts are very positive. It’s fast to capture, I like the capture bar as it saves time adjusting – you can pretty much have your book in one hand and phone in the other and not have to put down your book to use the OCR, and it integrates with Hanping Dictionary if you have that installed, too.
- Scans live camera preview as well as still images (such as photos)
- Simplified and Traditional characters
- Recognizes over 8000 different characters
- Pinyin and Zhuyin (Bopomofo) pronunciation
- Horizontal & vertical text
- Fast – most devices perform recognition in a fraction of a second
- Optimized for pages of regular text (such as in a book)
- Clear, regular fonts should work well in general, but you may need to use the controls to reframe the text
- Recognized Chinese characters are drawn over the image, allowing you to easily verify accuracy
- Each character is colored according to its tone
- Breaks text down into words, displaying all corresponding dictionary entries
- Supports pan, zoom, and pinch-to-zoom
- Resizeable image window
- Seamlessly integrates with Hanping Chinese Dictionary (which you will need to install – it’s free! – to see the dictionary entries)