There have been many sci-fi technologies that I wished would become a reality, One has been the automatic translation devices in Star Trek where the Starfleet could always translate instantly what an alien race was saying and hear it in their own language, making negotiations and the inevitable last warnings before you blow them up, a lot clearer.
And while we may not have that technology just yet, it is getting a step closer as Google is releasing their new Interpreter mode feature to certain devices from today (according to The Verge). The new feature allows Google Assistant to translate your conversations in real-time and just by saying “Hey Google, help me speak <insert language here>, it will translate what you want to say in a language of your choice or vice versa, translating what a foreigner is saying to you, so you can now understand when they are insulting your mother.
At least, that is what Google envisages. Knowing how flaky transition services remain and the issues with understanding different accents, the reality of using the service will probably still lead to much confusion and the need for a human translator to intervene. But it is a step in the right direction and Google is getting better at it, so there is hope that by 2030, they will finally be able to figure out the Afrikaans accent properly.
Interpreter mode was previously only available on Google Home smart speakers and displays. It’ll start rolling out inside the iOS and Android Google Assistant smartphone apps from today, in a staggered rollout. So not all devices will get access to it immediately. Once a user is in interpreter mode though, the Assistant will be able to translate speech and read it out loud while also offering up smart replies that can speed up the conversation by letting you respond without even having to speak.
Now the no speaking part. That is a feature I can get behind.
Last Updated: December 17, 2019