Google Translate for Android talks 14 languages as you speak on the fly from your phone
Apple has Siri, Windows Phone 7 has the ability to give your phones basic instructions, but Google is hoping its latest feature for Android will let your phone be an interpreter for you when you next go on holiday.
Google Translate for Android has now gone from just offering English to Spanish voice translation to translating 14 languages on the fly as long as you’ve got network coverage.
"We began with just English and Spanish, but today we’re expanding to 14 languages, adding Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Russian and Turkish," explains Jeff Chin, a product manager at Google.
To use Conversation Mode all Android phone users have to do is speak into their phone’s microphone, and the Translate app will translate what you’ve said and read the translation out loud.
The person you’re speaking with can then reply in their language, and Conversation Mode will translate what they said and read it back to you.
Of course, before you drop your jaw in amazement, it is worth pointing out that as with most Google products, it is still in early testing stage. In fact Chin says that the project is in "alpha" (that’s the one before beta), but that it should learn and grow every day.
"This technology is still in alpha, so factors like background noise and regional accents may affect accuracy. But since it depends on examples to learn, the quality will improve as people use it more. We wanted to get this early version out to help start the conversation no matter where you are in the world," adds Chin.
To help improve your results even further Google says that you are able to edit the text you’ve spoken on screen before you ask it to be translated.
When viewing written translation results, you can tap the magnifying glass icon to view the translated text in full screen mode so you can easily show it to someone nearby, or just pinch to zoom in for a close-up view.
Google Translate app is available in Android Market and is available for tablets and mobile phones running Android 2.2 and up.