The experimental software lets the handsets translate conversations in real time. Google added a text translation to Android a year ago but “Conversation Mode” is certainly more interesting.
Writing in his bog, Google’s Awaneesh Verma said that all you do is simply press the microphone for your language and start speaking.
“Google Translate will translate your speech and read the translation out loud. Your conversation partner can then respond in their language, and you’ll hear the translation spoken back to you.”
The downside is that Conversation Mode only works between English and Spanish at the moment and I would really love to order a pizza in Italian.
It also has problems with regional dialects, background noise, or fast talking. “Even with these caveats, we’re excited about the future promise of this technology to be able to help people connect across languages,” Verma said.
While the technology is not quite there yet, it does show that Star Trek’s universal translator is getting closer by the day. Attached is a movie of the technology in action.