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Make Photos Speak In Multiple Languages

There is technology that allows you to take a photo of a poster, book, page from a magazine, etc. then convert it to text. From there it can be read aloud, translated, and read aloud in the translated language. It can also be brought into a word processing program for editing in the translated language to increase accuracy.

Here are some ways this technology makes content accessible to learners: 

  • Visually impaired learners can hear the content read
  • Learners who are not reading at the level of the text can have the content read to them
  • Learners for whom English is not their first language can have the content translated. It can also be read to them in their language.

How To:

Here is how this works:
First, on your phone, take the photo in Office Lens. Then save it to OneNote

Next, go to your computer and open OneNote. Then, follow these steps: 

OneNote online screenshot

  • Go to “View” in the menu
  • Select “Immersive Reader”
  • o   This converts the photo into text
  • Go to the bottom of the screen a select the play arrow
  • o   This reads the text
  • Select “Reading Preferences” in the top right part of your screen
  • Go to “Translate”
  • Pick a language
  • Select “Document”
  • o   Now your document is translated
  • You can go to the bottom of the screen and select the play arrow to hear the document read aloud

Here is a demonstration:

Your turn

What do you think? Is this something you might use with your students? How do you see using it?

Lisa Nielsen (@InnovativeEdu) has worked as a public-school educator and administrator since 1997. She is a prolific writer best known for her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator. Nielsen is the author of several booksand her writing has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times,The Wall Street Journal, Tech&Learning, and T.H.E. Journal.