Google rolls out conversation translation


Google has opened up an experimental technology which directly translates users' conversations into another language.

The search provider demoed Conversation Mode within the Google Translate app a few months back, but now users can try out the service on Android devices.

At the current time, translation is limited to conversations between English and Spanish, whilst issues such as accents and background noise could affect the quality of translation.

"Even with these caveats, we're excited about the future promise of this technology to be able to help people connect across languages," said Google product manager Awaneesh Verma, in a blog post.

"In conversation mode, simply press the microphone for your language and start speaking. Google Translate will translate your speech and read the translation out loud."

Updates have also been introduced for Google Translate for Android to make it easier to interact with.

Enhancements include improved dropdown boxes for language selection, whilst the whole layout of the app has been made cleaner.

Translate, which was launched a year ago, supports 53 languages and voice input for 15 languages. Users will need to be running Android 2.1 or above to download the updated service.

There are a range of translation apps available on Android and iPhone. A recent addition that has received plenty of praise is the Word Lens app. This augmented reality app translates text from the outside world, whilst keeping the background and fonts the same.

Google Goggles already does the same but without the font and background maintained.

Last year, Google also introduced an auto-translation feature into its Chrome browser.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.