Google on Wednesday began turning Android-powered smartphones into interpreters with experimental software that lets the handsets
translate conversations in real time.
The company refreshed its "Translate for Android" application by
adding feature several updates to make the app easier to interact
with. Among other improvements, Googlr has created better dropdown
boxes to help select the languages users want to translate from and
into, an improved input box, and cleaner icons and layout.
In addition, Google released an experimental feature that's still in
its earliest stages - Conversation Mode. This is a new interface within
Google Translate that's optimized to allow users to communicate
fluidly with a nearby person in another language.
Currently, Anfroid users can only use Conversation Mode when
translating between English and Spanish. In conversation mode users
just have to press the microphone for their language and start
speaking. Google Translate will translate their speech and read the
translation out loud. The conversation partner can then respond in
their language, and users will hear the translation spoken back to
them. Google noted that this technology is still in alpha so
factors like regional accents, background noise or rapid speech may
make it difficult to understand what a user is saying.
Translate supports 53 languages, from Afrikaans to Yiddish, and voice
input for 15 languages. The app is available for devices running
Android 2.1 and above, and can be downloaded from the Android