Google’s automated translation service Google Translate is now offering a new app which lets users not only get immediate translations of both printed and hand written texts but to also get immediate translations of spoken words.
This app is basically the world’s first version of Star Trek’s universal translators. So throw away your little French and Spanish phrase books. Do not worry anymore about not knowing how to speak with that guy from Russia who lives in your building and never learned how to speak English. Or if you need to travel frequently around the world for business you no longer need to memorize how to order a cup of coffee in 20 different languages.
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In a blog post Google stated, “While we’ve had real-time conversation mode on Android since 2013, our new update makes the conversation flow faster and more naturally. Starting today, simply tap the mic to start speaking in a selected language, then tap the mic again, and the Google Translate app will automatically recognize which of the two languages are being spoken, letting you have a more fluid conversation. For the rest of the conversation, you won’t need to tap the mic again—it’ll be ready as you need it. Asking for directions to the Rive Gauche, ordering bacalhau in Lisbon, or chatting with your grandmother in her native Spanish just got a lot faster.”
It is getting rave reviews and has wowed just about everyone. Jim Edwards wrote in Business Insider, “It’s not often you download an app on your phone and — without understatement — it just blows you away. But Google Translate is the most astonishing piece of mobile software I’ve seen in months.”
Time magazine said that it already tested the spoken feature of the app and that it performed flawlessly. The one hitch that Time found was when a nonnative speaker of a language is talking with an accent. Then the app has trouble following what they say.
Google says that more than 500 million people use Google Translate every month and that it performs one billion translations a day.