Google Translate picks up new real-time image, speech tools

As smartphones, the software that run on them, and the services they access mature, these tiny yet extremely powerful computers continue to pull off feats that maybe even only fifteen years ago sounded like something out of science fiction. We can carry on natural conversations with virtual assistants, send notifications to our wrists, and view video in higher resolution than even our living room TVs are capable of displaying. One of these straight-out-of-sci-fi features to become reality has been the universal translator, tasking our phones to bridge communications between people speaking different tongues. Apps like Google Translate have already made this very tricky task look easy, and that software’s bag of tricks is only getting more impressive today, as Google reveals some powerful new real-time translation tools.

Google Translate already supported a back-and-forth spoken translation mode (at least for Android), letting the app act as a go-between for two users speaking different languages. It was functional, if less than the smoothest thing to use, with lots of tapping to prompt Google to deliver its translation. With today’s update, once you get the conversation started, translations will flow automatically – no need to manually tell the app when to listen to what. You can just speak naturally, and Translate will detect when you’ve stopped to offer its own translation.

Image-based translations also get a new real-time feature, with the app now supporting an overlay mode. Basically, you’ll hold your phone’s camera up to a foreign-language sign, and the app will replace that text with some you’re able to read in a kind of augmented reality mode. For this initial release of the feature, the app supports translations between English and French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

These two translation modes are on their way now to both the Android and iOS Translate apps, with distribution continuing throughout the next few days.

Source: Google
Via: phoneArena

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!