Frivolous Friday Fun: 2009-01-30


At first blush, a site like TinEye may seem like a frivolous waste of time. TinEye is Idée’s image identification-based web search engine, currently in beta. It allows you to upload an image from your local hard drive or point to a remote image using its URL address. After a second or two

or more depending on the size of your image it finds matches with images elsewhere on the Web. It can find images matching the same content without having to match in file size, file name or dimensions.

Using TinEye

You may be asking what you can use this service for? According to their website, you can find out where an image came from, or get more information about it, research or track the appearance of an image online, find higher resolution versions of an image, locate web pages that make use of an image you have created, or discover modified or edited versions of an image.

Still unsure how it works? Check out their video for a demonstration.

TinEye for Translators

Now, how may this service be useful to you as a translator? Well, I’ve been in a few situations where I wish I’d had this service at my disposal when I was working on a translation of text contained in an image, WIth TinEye, I may have been able to find an image with higher resolution to better make out the text contained in the image. Or, I may have been able to find what page the image was embedded in. That may have enabled me to find out more about the context of the image, maybe even a page with more or different source text I could use to improve the quality of my translation.

Other Uses

If you can think of any other uses, related to translation or not, please let us know in the comments – thanks!


I’m not affiliated with Idée or TinEye, just a curious user of their service.

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