Google demos feature that transcribes audio into different languages

Google demos its near real-time translator that can change audio into different languages on the spot

  • Google’s new Translate feature can create transcripts of live speech
  • It spits out audio in a preferred language and is currently a prototype
  • Google says it wants to expand the feature to pre-recorded audio
  • It differs from Google Assistant’s ‘Translate Mode’ rolled out in December 

Google is showing off a new feature in its Translate app that can create an almost real-time transcription of someone’s speech.

The feature, which was demonstrated at a Google event and pointed out by Mashable, listens through an external microphone and spits out the audio in a desired language on the screen.

While the technology is currently still a prototype, Google says it plans to introduce it to Android devices through its standalone Google Translate app.

Unlike previous Translate tools, The Verge reports that its feature will not be functional offline, given the resources required in translating language at such a high speed.

Google also says the its app will soon be able to transcribe recordings of conversations as opposed to live speech.

The new technology, which Google says will be released at some point in the future will compliment a similar roll out from December that introduced a powerful AI-interpreter to mobile devices using Google Assistant.

Interpreter Mode, as Google described it, is activated by users summoning the assistant with their voice by using the wake phrase, ‘Hey Google, help me translate Spanish’ or another similar command.

The tool is capable of translating 44 languages and works in real-time by listening to the speech, transcribing it and then speaking it aloud.

It allows two-way conversation because it translates the user’s language and the language of whoever they are talking to. 

While Interpreter has been available on other Google devices like its smart speaker, the Home, in December Google introduced the tool on mobile devices.


Google’s AI interpreter is on mobile devices and allows users to translate on-the-go

Google has also long offered a powerful translating tool via its Lens app that is capable of translating text using a device’s camera.

AI and computer vision are capable of ‘looking’ at text placed in front of one’s camera and then spitting the text back out in another language.

Like Interpreter, the Lens tool has become a favorite for travelers who struggled to get by in foreign countries where they don’t speak the language.

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