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Appeared on: Thursday, January 13, 2011
Google Enhances Translate for Android

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 Market.


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