A recent feature added to Google Docs is Optical Character Recognition (OCR) which converts the text on a scanned image into editable text on the screen.
So for example, say you receive a letter covering a health issue and you are not completely sure what it is saying then scan it and save it to your computer as either a PDF, JPEG, GIF or PNG file.
Next log in to Google Docs and you will see the option to Upload in the top left hand corner of your index page of past documents.
Click this and in the pop-up window select the file to upload and then tick the check box that says 'Convert text from PDF or image files to Google Docs documents.'
Click Start Upload and give it a few seconds to go through the procedure of adding the letter to your list of documents.
Once complete you will see a plain text version of your letter, in French, so to get an English language version go along to Tools on the tool bar and then Translate and pick English (US), there is no UK option (see image below).
Within a few seconds the page will be translated and you should be able to get a good idea of the content of your letter, remember it is a computer translation so it is not going to be word perfect.
I had a quick go with a PDF file and it worked fine, it might prove a little more problematic with a hand written note, but for printed letters or similar the OCR should be able to easily recognise the text.
If you have any questions feel free to leave a message below and I'll try to help out.