Google Translate Brings Star Trek’s Universal Translator One Step Closer [News]

2011 01 14 1127   Google Translate Brings Star Treks Universal Translator One Step Closer [News]Translations used to be hard. Whenever someone talked to you in another language when, say, you traveled to another country, you were pretty much out of luck if you didn’t spend time learning it prior to going or if you didn’t have a translator on hand.

Translation books and even phone applications can only carry you so far, as it has become tedious work trying to use them to navigate exactly what you’re looking for. However, Google has just released an epic update to their Translate for Android app on its one year anniversary. What’s epic about it? Conversation Mode.

What’s New With Google Translate?

As reported by Tech Crunch, most of the updates to that app pertain to the user interface, but Converstion Mode, while only in alpha, is very impressive.

It works exactly how you’d think it would, in a perfect world. You speak in one language into your phone, the app translates it for you, and it outputs the translation through your phone’s speaker. The person also has the opportunity to respond back into the phone, repeating the process from the other end.

To see this in action, here is a YouTube video of Google demoing the app on stage, taken from a conference in Berlin back in September. The demo starts roughly 26 mins & 24 seconds in:

More information about the update can be found on Google’s Mobile Blog. You can download the app on your Android device by using the bar scanner app to scan this QR Code:

2011 01 14 1125   Google Translate Brings Star Treks Universal Translator One Step Closer [News]

Conclusion

The fact that this exists is amazing. As Google notes, the app is still in the very early stages, as they’ve experienced a few issues with background noise, accents, and other things you might expect, but all in all it looks like very good progress. I’m curious to see how this will wind up.

What do you think of the new Google Translate?

[Note]: Currently, the app only works in English and Spanish (sorry, rest of the world!)

Source: Tech Crunch

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

4 Comments -

Nunyabiz

Would be nice if you could see what he was actually doing on the phone!!!!!

Steve Campbell

Well that video was taken back in September, but unfortunately it’s the best we’ve got so far. If Google releases a better one, we’ll be sure to post it for you!

Helinna

At first sight, this appears to be a good choice for someone who enjoys travelling, but I foresee some problems when this programme is used in the “real world”. This app is meant to allow real-time person-to-person telephone translation. The problem is, people in the real world also have accents that slightly differ from one other. I’m not just talking about the British versus Australian versus Canadian accents, although that would certainly give any mobile app developer pause for thought. Differences in accent also vary between cities and regions, and this might affect the accuracy of the translation. I already have enough problems asking my phone’s voice function to dial
Kuthrapalee’s number.

Also, how will they control the noise level when we are in a public space? Couldn’t this potentially affect the translation as well?

Google’s made good progress, but I still think there is a ways to go before real-time translation becomes a reality. For effective and accurate translations, translation agencies are still best in terms of servicing technical, legal, medical or any other language translation needs. There’s nothing like having real (human) professional translators and interpreters to provide you with the real service (though maybe not at all times…)

Helinna

At first sight, this appears to be a good choice for someone who enjoys travelling, but I foresee some problems when this programme is used in the “real world”. This app is meant to allow real-time person-to-person telephone translation. The problem is, people in the real world also have accents that slightly differ from one other. I’m not just talking about the British versus Australian versus Canadian accents, although that would certainly give any mobile app developer pause for thought. Differences in accent also vary between cities and regions, and this might affect the accuracy of the translation. I already have enough problems asking my phone’s voice function to dial
Kuthrapalee’s number.

Also, how will they control the noise level when we are in a public space? Couldn’t this potentially affect the translation as well?

Google’s made good progress, but I still think there is a ways to go before real-time translation becomes a reality. For effective and accurate translations, translation agencies are still best in terms of servicing technical, legal, medical or any other language translation needs. There’s nothing like having real (human) professional translators and interpreters to provide you with the real service (though maybe not at all times…)