Google Translate update to introduce real-time voice translation

Just a few weeks after users got their first look at Skype Translator, Google has announced plans to launch its own real-time translation tool that aims to automatically recognise popular dialects to break through the language barrier.

The capability will come with Google Translate's next update, reports the New York Times, when users will be able to translate foreign languages simply by taking a photo of something like a menu or street sign, as well as from voices heard' by the app.

The main feature will be the app's ability to hear spoken language and automatically turn it into written text for the user to read in real-time.

Before the update arrives, there has already been more than 100 million downloads of the Google Translate app onto Android phones, according to the search giant, with 500 million active users a month.

When reviewing Skype Translate, the service an updated Google Translate would be competing with, IT Pro praised the potential educational benefits of the tool as well as its uses within businesses wanting to speak with colleagues overseas.

The translate app is a feature of Google Glass, with real-time translation allowing the wearer to simply look at a sign or document written in a foreign language and see it converted. The next stage would be doing the same for voices, and it looks as if this new update is a definite step towards that goal.

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

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