Google's working towards a universal translator

An update for the Google Translate app for Android lets you translate spoken conversations between two people

I have to wonder sometimes if there’s a limit to where Google will go. I can’t deny that I’m often cheering them on as they gobble up companies, scan every book ever published and apparently turn a smartphone into a universal translator, as reported by New Scientist.

An update to Google's Translate app for Android lets you translate a conversation from one language to another. I downloaded it today to test it out, and it is very simple.

You type or say the initial phrase in whatever language you choose (well, you can currently choose English or Spanish), and it will spell out and give the option to allow it to say the phrase itself. For example, I turned on the microphone and spoke “Hello, my name is Jason.” It thought for a second, and then did a speech to text translation (correctly for once) in the text box and repeated it in written Spanish below, with a speaker button I could then press to have the sentence translated as audio.

In the Conversation mode, you would then hand the phone off to whomever you were speaking with, and they would repeat the process in the other language. My Spanish must be especially terrible pronunciation-wise because the best I could get it to think I was saying was “Cuba, how are you?” when I repeated “Hola, como estas?” half a dozen times. The intent is clear, though, and brilliant through its simplicity. It even puts the conversation in a convenient bubble format:

To me this is the best thing since sliced bread. The only issue I have at all with it is that handing my five-hundred-dollar phone to a stranger I can’t understand seems questionable. I’m willing to cross that bridge when I come to it, though.

Google Blog via New Scientist

Like this? You might also enjoy...

Follow GeekTech on Twitter or Facebook, or subscribe to our RSS feed.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesGooglemobile phonesPhonesGoogle Androidconsumer electronics

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jason Kennedy

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?