Real-time voice translation coming to Google Translate
Google Translate will soon be able to automatically detect when someone is speaking a foreign language and translate their words to text on mobile devices. Read more: Best free translation apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
While Google Translate app users are already able to use voice input for some of the 90 languages the software recognises, currently they have to select the input language first. This can make things tricky if you’re trying to understand someone speaking an unknown foreign language.
According to the New York Times, the new functionality, which will be rolling out “soon” will “automatically recognise if someone is speaking a popular language and automatically turn it into written text”.
The news comes as part of an ongoing campaign from Google to increase the number of languages its voice recognition software can understand. In August 2014, the company revealed automatic language-detection for Google voice search on Android, which allows the mobile OS to understand up to five spoken languages at once.
It also follow’s Microsoft’s first steps into the world of universal translation with Skype Translator, which offers near-simultaneous voice and text translation between languages.
There’s no word yet on which “popular” languages will be available when the Google Translate app update rolls out, although French, Spanish, Italian and German are normally fairly solid bets. We also don’t know if, like the multi-language voice search functionality, voice translate will be limited to Android initially, or if the update will be universal.
We shall keep our eyes peeled and ears open and let you know as soon as more information is available. In the meantime, let us know how useful you think you would find this kind of tech in the comments.