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Reading the Hanzi in APPs — better way than Pleco?


mungouk
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Since arriving in Beijing I've been using a lot of APPs that have most or all of their user interface in Chinese text, meaning lots of (usually TINY) Hanzi that I need to look up.

 

My current way of doing this (on iOS) is pretty clunky:
 

  1. Screen-shot the APP and save to Photo Library
  2. Start up / switch to Pleco
  3. Get out of whatever screen it's currently on and choose "Still OCR" from the big menu on the left
  4. Choose Photo Library > Camera Roll and find the screen shot
  5. Adjust the green rectangle so it selects the text I'm interested in
  6. Press Capture
  7. Finally get to see the captured text, and to tap on the Hanzi I don't know

 

Not only is this clunky but it leaves a pile of screenshots on my phone that I have to remember to delete.

 

Is there an easier way than this? 

 

I guess iOS probably prevents apps from screen-shotting other apps, but even if there's just a quicker way to get the screenshot straight into Pleco's Still OCR feature then that would be useful to know.

 

 

 

 

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Have you got the Live OCR?

You can just point the device at the text and it will give the translation.

I only have the Demo version so it only does one character at a time but the paid version will do chunks of text at a time.

 

P.S. I am using android, don't know about iOS

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As Shelly says, screen reader / OCR is what I use. I use it for what you mention. Works most of the time. I.e the gray  floating buttons on the screen

 

For wechat screen reader won't work so I use the ocr (the green square that pops up but for other apps it's a mixture depending on the app. 

 

This is for Android and paid version though. Maybe iPhone is different

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No way to do Screen OCR on iPhone, but we do have two faster ways to OCR a screenshot at least:

 

1) If your phone has 3D Touch, go to Settings / Miscellaneous / Configure Shortcuts, remove one of the default ones and add one for “OCR Newest Screenshot” - this will let you get to OCR for your screenshot much faster.

 

2) Otherwise, in that same screen under Startup turn on “OCR latest photo” and “limit to screenshots” and that will do the same thing any time you start Pleco with a new screenshot you haven’t OCRed yet.

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15 hours ago, Shelley said:

Have you got the Live OCR?

You can just point the device at the text and it will give the translation.

How do you point the phone's camera at the phone's screen?

 

29 minutes ago, mikelove said:

1) If your phone has 3D Touch, go to Settings / Miscellaneous / Configure Shortcuts, remove one of the default ones and add one for “OCR Newest Screenshot” - this will let you get to OCR for your screenshot much faster.

Having done this, where does the shortcut live?  

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@mikelove this is brilliant, thanks!

 

I had no idea the 3D touch shortcuts could be customised. Now I have Live OCR, OCR Screenshot and Clipboard reader all one touch away!  

 

IMG_36C4DA75729B-1.thumb.jpeg.d53fa11d58f647c067a42b9ff1d5aa4c.jpeg

 

Btw for those hunting for Miscellaneous under the Settings for iOS, it's actually Settings near the bottom of the Pleco menu, i.e. inside the Pleco app itself. 

 

Lots of useful options — I wish more apps would let you customise the shortcuts like this.

 

IMG_5B220E12353C-1.thumb.jpeg.2b5528885acf36369d22b71a41de1646.jpeg

 

 

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1 hour ago, vellocet said:

How do you point the phone's camera at the phone's screen?

 

Hmmm, actually I wonder if running the live OCR on my iPad while using the Chinese APP on my phone might be even quicker.

 

I'll try it when I get home.

 

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Oh, I didn't see the "if your phone has 3D touch" part.  I don't know what that is so I guess not.  Force Touch is an unfamiliar keyword as well.  Is there some magic shortcut that can easily pull up OCR on the most recent screenshot on an ordinary Android (Xiaomi Max 2)?  

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13 hours ago, mungouk said:

I had no idea the 3D touch shortcuts could be customised. Now I have Live OCR, OCR Screenshot and Clipboard reader all one touch away!  


Thanks! I believe that came just a bit after 3.0 so we kind of tacked it on without drawing much attention to it. (We offer it on Android too but their app icon context menu feature is even less well known than Apple’s)

 

2 hours ago, vellocet said:

Is there some magic shortcut that can easily pull up OCR on the most recent screenshot on an ordinary Android (Xiaomi Max 2)?  


I don’t believe there’s a reliable way to query for the last screenshot taken on Android, though I could be mistaken - honestly with Screen OCR there hasn’t been much interest in recognizing regular old screenshots lately.

 

1 hour ago, roddy said:

Bluetooth monkey effect still works, I see. 


Heh, yeah, gonna get worse soon too - “can I make up my own Cantonese romanization system using old Norse runes” type crazy.

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10 hours ago, vellocet said:

Force Touch is an unfamiliar keyword

 

Push harder on the icon (and hold). 

 

I'm not sure if Android phones support it, but recent iPhones have a pressure-sensitive touch-screen.

 

 

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In android there is a make a Launch icon for these things but when I do it, it says the icon has been made but they don't appear on the desktop. I am running Android 7 and Pleco v3.2.66.

I used this function on an older version of both and it worked fine. 

Any ideas?

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Some Android phones also have a context menu you can access by long pressing the app icon - it’s a feature called App Shortcuts. Google added it all the way back in Android 7.1, but I don’t believe it’s one of the Android features that they forbid OEMs from messing with, and hence many of them remove it or replace it with their own crappy incompatible versions.

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11 hours ago, Shelley said:

In android there is a make a Launch icon for these things but when I do it, it says the icon has been made but they don't appear on the desktop. I am running Android 7 and Pleco v3.2.66.


Google borked this a few releases ago (for vaguely-specified security reasons) - you can still create a shortcut icon but now you have to initiate the process from your app launcher settings (same place you go to add a widget to the home screen) rather than within Pleco.

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