Google Translate will transcribe real-time translations on Android

With the Google Translate tool, representing yourself in a language you don't know will be even easier.

Google Translate will transcribe real-time translations.
Google Translate will transcribe real-time translations.

The company announced past Tuesday a new feature that allow people to use their phones to transcribe and translate a real-time conversation into a language they don't know.

The company is testing the tool and plans to launch it in the coming months.

The tool will be available for the Google Translate application in the coming months, obviously for Android devices. At the moment, it is being tested in several languages, including Spanish, German and French.

The feature will allow users to record audio in one language and play it back in another language in real time. Google demonstrated this technology at an event in San Francisco. 

In this presentation, the company showed other artificial intelligence projects, including initiatives in health technology and touch controls for fabrics.

It is likely that, at launch, the feature will require an Internet connection, which means it will be different from the Artificial Intelligence and device-based translation features currently found in Google Translate.

The company claims that this is because real-time multilingual transcription is more complicated than simply translating written text from one language to another or entering individual sentences and converting them into text in a different language.

This new tool will not work, however, with audio files, at least initially, and it will have to be live audio captured through a smartphone microphone. 

According to Google, we will be able to play recorded audio through a speaker and capture it that way.

In recent times Google has given a big push to natural language technology. Last year, the company introduced an interpreter mode for the Google Assistant, which allows people to have a conversation in two different languages that can be understood. 

Initially this tool was only available on smart screens, but last month Google introduced the feature on phones as well.

How does it work?

This new feature is currently being tested with English, Spanish, German and French . It is therefore understood that at the time of launching it can be translated between any of these four languages. For now, audios already saved cannot be translated, only what is captured with the phone's microphone.

It is not entirely clear what is the mechanism behind. Google says that the translator is constantly listening and analyzing the entire phrases that the microphone captures. Then interpret where it is appropriate to add scores, intonations or correct regional dialects for example.

This new functionality to translate in real time will require an Internet connection. That is, the translation will be done on Google's servers and with the supercomputers equipped with artificial intelligence that Google uses in the cloud. 

This is different, for example, from the traditional Google Translate mode, which allows you to save languages that you want to translate directly on your mobile phone offline.

There is no specific date for us to see this new feature on Android phones, neither if it will reach the iOS app as well for example. The only thing confirmed is that it will arrive "in the future". The next big Google event is the Google I/O 2020 on May 12th. Maybe we will see a demonstration to the public at that event.