Create a Language Translation Mobile App using React Native and Google APIs

In this blog, we are going to learn how to create a simple React Native based Language Translation Android app with Speech to Text and Text to Speech capabilities powered by Google APIs.

Installing dependencies:

Go to React Native Docs, select React Native CLI Quickstart and select your Development OS and Target OS -> Android, as we are going to build an Android application.

Follow the docs for installing dependencies and create a new React Native Application. Use the command line interface to generate a new React Native project called “Translator“:

react-native init Translator

You should see a folder named Translator created. Now open Translator folder with your favourite code editor and create a file called Translator.js. We need an input box for text that needs to be translated and another output section to display the translated text. We also need a select box that lists different languages to choose from for translation. Let’s create a json file, call it languages.json.

Go to languages.json file and copy the code below:

{
   "auto": "Auto Detect",
   "af": "Afrikaans",
   "sq": "Albanian",
   "am": "Amharic",
   "ar": "Arabic",
   "hy": "Armenian",
   "az": "Azerbaijani",
   "eu": "Basque",
   "be": "Belarusian",
   "bn": "Bengali",
   "bs": "Bosnian",
   "bg": "Bulgarian",
   "ca": "Catalan",
   "ceb": "Cebuano",
   "ny": "Chichewa",
   "zh-cn": "Chinese Simplified",
   "zh-tw": "Chinese Traditional",
   "co": "Corsican",
   "hr": "Croatian",
   "cs": "Czech",
   "da": "Danish",
   "nl": "Dutch",
   "en": "English",
   "eo": "Esperanto",
   "et": "Estonian",
   "tl": "Filipino",
   "fi": "Finnish",
   "fr": "French",
   "fy": "Frisian",
   "gl": "Galician",
   "ka": "Georgian",
   "de": "German",
   "el": "Greek",
   "gu": "Gujarati",
   "ht": "Haitian Creole",
   "ha": "Hausa",
   "haw": "Hawaiian",
   "iw": "Hebrew",
   "hi": "Hindi",
   "hmn": "Hmong",
   "hu": "Hungarian",
   "is": "Icelandic",
   "ig": "Igbo",
   "id": "Indonesian",
   "ga": "Irish",
   "it": "Italian",
   "ja": "Japanese",
   "jw": "Javanese",
   "kn": "Kannada",
   "kk": "Kazakh",
   "km": "Khmer",
   "ko": "Korean",
   "ku": "Kurdish (Kurmanji)",
   "ky": "Kyrgyz",
   "lo": "Lao",
   "la": "Latin",
   "lv": "Latvian",
   "lt": "Lithuanian",
   "lb": "Luxembourgish",
   "mk": "Macedonian",
   "mg": "Malagasy",
   "ms": "Malay",
   "ml": "Malayalam",
   "mt": "Maltese",
   "mi": "Maori",
   "mr": "Marathi",
   "mn": "Mongolian",
   "my": "Myanmar (Burmese)",
   "ne": "Nepali",
   "no": "Norwegian",
   "ps": "Pashto",
   "fa": "Persian",
   "pl": "Polish",
   "pt": "Portuguese",
   "ma": "Punjabi",
   "ro": "Romanian",
   "ru": "Russian",
   "sm": "Samoan",
   "gd": "Scots Gaelic",
   "sr": "Serbian",
   "st": "Sesotho",
   "sn": "Shona",
   "sd": "Sindhi",
   "si": "Sinhala",
   "sk": "Slovak",
   "sl": "Slovenian",
   "so": "Somali",
   "es": "Spanish",
   "su": "Sundanese",
   "sw": "Swahili",
   "sv": "Swedish",
   "tg": "Tajik",
   "ta": "Tamil",
   "te": "Telugu",
   "th": "Thai",
   "tr": "Turkish",
   "uk": "Ukrainian",
   "ur": "Urdu",
   "uz": "Uzbek",
   "vi": "Vietnamese",
   "cy": "Welsh",
   "xh": "Xhosa",
   "yi": "Yiddish",
   "yo": "Yoruba",
   "zu": "Zulu"
}

Translator.js (modify file), copy the code below:

import React, { Component } from 'react';
import { View, TextInput, StyleSheet, TouchableOpacity, TouchableHighlight, Text, Picker, Image } from 'react-native';
import Languages from './languages.json';

export default class Translator extends Component {

   constructor(props) {
       super(props);
       this.state = {
           languageFrom: "",
           languageTo: "",
           languageCode: 'en',
           inputText: "",
           outputText: "",
           submit: false,
       };
   }

   render() {
       return (
           <View style = {styles.container}>
               <View style={styles.input}>
                   <TextInput
                       style={{flex:1, height: 80}}
                       placeholder="Enter Text"
                       underlineColorAndroid="transparent"
                       onChangeText = {inputText => this.setState({inputText})}
                       value={this.state.inputText}
                   />
               </View>

               <Picker
               selectedValue={this.state.languageTo}
               onValueChange={ lang => this.setState({languageTo: lang, languageCode: lang})}
               >
                   {Object.keys(Languages).map(key => (
                       <Picker.Item label={Languages[key]} value={key} />
                   ))}
               </Picker>

               <View style = {styles.output}>
                  {/* output text displays here.. */}
               </View>
               <TouchableOpacity
                   style = {styles.submitButton}
                   onPress = {this.handleTranslate}
               >
                   <Text style = {styles.submitButtonText}> Submit </Text>
               </TouchableOpacity>
           </View>
       )
   }
}

const styles = StyleSheet.create({
   container: {
       paddingTop: 53
   },
   input: {
       flexDirection: 'row',
       justifyContent: 'center',
       alignItems: 'center',
       backgroundColor: '#fff',
       borderWidth: .5,
       borderColor: '#000',
       // height: 40,
       borderRadius: 5 ,
       margin: 10
   },
   output: {
       flexDirection: 'row',
       justifyContent: 'center',
       alignItems: 'center',
       backgroundColor: '#fff',
       borderWidth: .5,
       borderColor: '#000',
       borderRadius: 5 ,
       margin: 10,
       height: 80,
   },
   submitButton: {
       backgroundColor: '#7a42f4',
       padding: 10,
       margin: 15,
       borderRadius: 5 ,
       height: 40,
   },
   submitButtonText:{
       color: 'white'
   },
})

Now import your Translator.js in to App.js file.
Replace your App.js file with below code

import React, {Component} from 'react';
import {View} from 'react-native';
import Translator from './Translator';

export default class App extends Component {
   render() {
       return (
       <View>
           <Translator />
       </View>
       );
   }
}

Preparing the Android device

You will need an Android device to run your React Native Android app. This can be either a physical Android device, or more commonly, you can use an Android Virtual Device (AVD) which allows you to emulate an Android device on your computer (using Android Studio).

Either way, you will need to prepare the device to run Android apps for development.

Using a physical device

If you have a physical Android device, you can use it for development in place of an AVD by connecting it to your computer using a USB cable and following the instructions here.

If you are using virtual device follow this link.

Now go to command line and run react-native run-android inside your React Native app directory:

cd Translator
react-native run-android

If everything is set up correctly, you should see your new app running in your physical device or Android emulator shortly as below.

That’s great. We got the basic UI for our Translator app. Now we need to translate the input text into the selected language on submit. In React Native we have a library called react-native-power-translator for translating the text.

Let’s install the react-native-power-translator library. Go to the project root directory in command line and run the below command:

npm i react-native-power-translator --save

Usage:

import { PowerTranslator, ProviderTypes, TranslatorConfiguration, TranslatorFactory } from 'react-native-power-translator';

//Example
TranslatorConfiguration.setConfig('Provider_Type', 'Your_API_Key','Target_Language', 'Source_Language');

//Fill with your own details
TranslatorConfiguration.setConfig(ProviderTypes.Google, 'xxxx','fr');
  • PowerTranslator: a simple component to translate your texts.
  • ProviderTypes: type of cloud provider you want to use. There are two providers you can specify. ProviderTypes.Google for Google translate and ProviderTypes.Microsoft for Microsoft translator text cloud service.
  • TranslatorFactory: It returns a suitable translator instance, based on your configuration.
  • TranslatorConfiguration: It is a singleton class that keeps the translator configuration.

Now add the following code in your Translator.js file:

In the above code I’m using Google provider. You can use either Google or Microsoft provider.

Save all the files and run your app in the command line again and you can see a working app with translates text from one language to another as below.

import React, { Component } from 'react';
...
...
import { PowerTranslator, ProviderTypes, TranslatorConfiguration, TranslatorFactory } from 'react-native-power-translator';

export default class Translator extends Component {
...
...
render() {
       TranslatorConfiguration.setConfig(ProviderTypes.Google,’XXXX’, this.state.languageCode);
       return (
             ...
             ...
             ...
             <View style = {styles.output}>
                  {/* output text displays here.. */}
              {this.state.submit && <PowerTranslator  text={this.state.inputText} />}
              </View>

             ...
...
    
}
}

In the below image you can see the text that converted from English to French.

In Android devices you can download different language keyboards. So that you can translate your local language to other languages.

In Android devices you can download different language keyboards. So that you can translate your local language to other languages.

For speech to text we have a library called react-native-android-voice. Let’s install this library in our project.
Go to command line and navigate to project root directory and run the below command:

npm install --save react-native-android-voice

After installing successfully please follow the steps in this link for linking the library to your android project.

Once you completed linking libraries to your Android project, let’s start implementing it in our Translator.js file.

Let’s add a mic icon in our input box. When user taps on mic icon the speech feature will be enabled, there is a library called react-native-vector-icons. For installation follow the steps in this link.

In this project I’m using Ionicons icons, you can change it in iconFontNames in your android/app/build.gradle file as:

project.ext.vectoricons = [
   iconFontNames: [ 'Ionicons.ttf' ] // Name of the font files you want to copy
]

Now add the following code in Translator.js file.

import React, { Component } from 'react';
...
...
import Icon from "react-native-vector-icons/Ionicons";
import SpeechAndroid from 'react-native-android-voice';

export default class Translator extends Component {
constructor(props) {
      super(props);
      this.state = {
          languageFrom: "",
          ....
          ....
          micOn: false, //Add this
      };
      this._buttonClick = this._buttonClick.bind(this); //Add this
  }

...
async _buttonClick(){
       await this.setState({micOn: true})
       try{
           var spokenText = await SpeechAndroid.startSpeech("", SpeechAndroid.ENGLISH);
           await this.setState({inputText: spokenText});
           await ToastAndroid.show(spokenText , ToastAndroid.LONG);
       }catch(error){
           switch(error){
               case SpeechAndroid.E_VOICE_CANCELLED:
                   ToastAndroid.show("Voice Recognizer cancelled" , ToastAndroid.LONG);
                   break;
               case SpeechAndroid.E_NO_MATCH:
                   ToastAndroid.show("No match for what you said" , ToastAndroid.LONG);
                   break;
               case SpeechAndroid.E_SERVER_ERROR:
                   ToastAndroid.show("Google Server Error" , ToastAndroid.LONG);
                   break;
           }
       }
       this.setState({micOn: false})
   }

render() {
       TranslatorConfiguration.setConfig(ProviderTypes.Google,'XXXX', this.state.languageCode);
       return (
             <View style = {styles.container}>
              <View style={styles.input}>
                  <TextInput
                      ...
                      ...
                      ...
                  />
                  <TouchableOpacity onPress={this._buttonClick}>
                       {this.state.micOn ? <Icon size={30} name="md-mic" style={styles.micStyle}/> : <Icon size={30} name="md-mic-off" style={styles.micStyle}/>}
                   </TouchableOpacity>
              </View>
...
...
</View>
    )
}
}

const styles = StyleSheet.create({
  container: {
      paddingTop: 53
  },
...
...
...
  micStyle: {
      padding: 10,
      margin: 5,
      alignItems: 'center'
  }
})

After adding the code correctly, save all the changes and run your app. Now you can see a mic icon in the text input box which allows speech to text feature.

In the above code we are calling a function called _buttonClick() which contains speech to text logic. This will automatically start recognizing and adjusting for the English Language. You can use different languages for speech, you can check here for more information.

Now we successfully implemented speech to text to our Translator app. Let’s add text to speech feature which will turn the translated text into speech. For that we have a library called react-native-tts which converts text to speech.

Install react-native-tts in our project. Go to the command line and navigate to project root directory and run the following command:

npm install --save react-native-tts
react-native link react-native-tts

First command will install the library.
Second command will link the library to your android project.

Now add the following code in your Translator.js file

import React, { Component } from 'react';
...
...
import Icon from "react-native-vector-icons/Ionicons";
import SpeechAndroid from 'react-native-android-voice';

export default class Translator extends Component {
constructor(props) {
      super(props);
      this.state = {
          languageFrom: "",
          ...
          ...
          micOn: false, //Add this
      };
      this._buttonClick = this._buttonClick.bind(this); //Add this
  }


handleTranslate = () => {
       this.setState({submit: true})
       const translator = TranslatorFactory.createTranslator();
       translator.translate(this.state.inputText).then(translated => {
           // alert(translated)
           Tts.getInitStatus().then(() => {
               Tts.speak(translated);
           });
           Tts.stop();
       });
   }
...

render() {
         ...
    )
}
}

In the above code we have added the text to speech logic in handleTranslate function that called when submit button clicked.

Now our final Translator.js file will look like below:

import React, { Component } from 'react';
import { PowerTranslator, ProviderTypes, TranslatorConfiguration, TranslatorFactory } from 'react-native-power-translator';
import { View, TextInput, StyleSheet, TouchableOpacity, TouchableHighlight, Text, Picker, Image } from 'react-native';
import Icon from "react-native-vector-icons/Ionicons";
import Tts from 'react-native-tts';
import Languages from './languages.json';
import SpeechAndroid from 'react-native-android-voice';

export default class Translator extends Component {

   constructor(props) {
       super(props);
       this.state = {
           languageFrom: "",
           languageTo: "",
           languageCode: 'en',
           inputText: "",
           outputText: "",
           submit: false,
           micOn: false,
       };
       this._buttonClick = this._buttonClick.bind(this);
   }
   handleTranslate = () => {
       this.setState({submit: true})
       const translator = TranslatorFactory.createTranslator();
       translator.translate(this.state.inputText).then(translated => {
           Tts.getInitStatus().then(() => {
               Tts.speak(translated);
           });
           Tts.stop();
       });
   }
   async _buttonClick(){
       await this.setState({micOn: true})
       try{
           var spokenText = await SpeechAndroid.startSpeech("", SpeechAndroid.DEFAULT);
           await this.setState({inputText: spokenText});
           await ToastAndroid.show(spokenText , ToastAndroid.LONG);
       }catch(error){
           switch(error){
               case SpeechAndroid.E_VOICE_CANCELLED:
                   ToastAndroid.show("Voice Recognizer cancelled" , ToastAndroid.LONG);
                   break;
               case SpeechAndroid.E_NO_MATCH:
                   ToastAndroid.show("No match for what you said" , ToastAndroid.LONG);
                   break;
               case SpeechAndroid.E_SERVER_ERROR:
                   ToastAndroid.show("Google Server Error" , ToastAndroid.LONG);
                   break;
           }
       }
       this.setState({micOn: false})
   }

   render() {
       TranslatorConfiguration.setConfig(ProviderTypes.Google, 'XXXXXXXXX', this.state.languageCode);
       return (
           <View style = {styles.container}>
               <View style={styles.input}>
                   <TextInput
                       style={{flex:1, height: 80}}
                       placeholder="Enter Text"
                       underlineColorAndroid="transparent"
                       onChangeText = {inputText => this.setState({inputText})}
                       value={this.state.inputText}
                   />
                   <TouchableOpacity onPress={this._buttonClick}>
                       {this.state.micOn ? <Icon size={30} name="md-mic" style={styles.ImageStyle}/> : <Icon size={30} name="md-mic-off" style={styles.ImageStyle}/>}
                   </TouchableOpacity>
               </View>

               <Picker
               selectedValue={this.state.languageTo}
               onValueChange={ lang => this.setState({languageTo: lang, languageCode: lang})}
               >
                   {Object.keys(Languages).map(key => (
                       <Picker.Item label={Languages[key]} value={key} />
                   ))}
               </Picker>

               <View style = {styles.output}>
                   {this.state.submit && <PowerTranslator text={this.state.inputText} />}
                   {/* onTranslationEnd={this.textToSpeech} */}
               </View>
               <TouchableOpacity
                   style = {styles.submitButton}
                   onPress = {this.handleTranslate}
               >
                   <Text style = {styles.submitButtonText}> Submit </Text>
               </TouchableOpacity>
           </View>
       )
   }
}

const styles = StyleSheet.create({
   container: {
       paddingTop: 53
   },
   input: {
       flexDirection: 'row',
       justifyContent: 'center',
       alignItems: 'center',
       backgroundColor: '#fff',
       borderWidth: .5,
       borderColor: '#000',
       // height: 40,
       borderRadius: 5 ,
       margin: 10
   },
   output: {
       flexDirection: 'row',
       justifyContent: 'center',
       alignItems: 'center',
       backgroundColor: '#fff',
       borderWidth: .5,
       borderColor: '#000',
       borderRadius: 5 ,
       margin: 10,
       height: 80,
   },
   ImageStyle: {
       padding: 10,
       margin: 5,
       alignItems: 'center'
   },
   submitButton: {
       backgroundColor: '#7a42f4',
       padding: 10,
       margin: 15,
       borderRadius: 5 ,
       height: 40,
   },
   submitButtonText:{
       color: 'white'
   },
})

Make sure you have replaced ‘XXXXXX’ with your Google/Microsoft API-Key in TranslatorConfiguration in render method.

That’s it. Now we have a Language Translator, Speech to Text, Text to Speech features in our Translator application. We are ready to go now. Reload / Run your app and you can see a fully functional app.

When user taps on mic icon, an Android speech recognizer popup will be displayed as below.

If user didn’t speak or google doesn’t recognize the speech then it shows up as below:

Once Google recognizes speech then select a language to which you need to translate to and click the submit button, so that you would receive a translated text as speech.

That’s it folks!

This story is authored by Venu Vaka. Venu is a software engineer and machine learning enthusiast.

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