OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE HOUSE Google has added an auto-translate feature to its Translate for Android software.
The firm has announced that it has smartened up the look and feel of its mobile translation software while boosting it with an on-the-go, voice controlled conversation clarification feature.
"Today, we're refreshing Translate for Android with several updates to make the app easier to interact with," said Awaneesh Verma, product manager at Google. "Among other improvements, we've created better dropdown boxes to help select the languages you want to translate from and into, an improved input box, and cleaner icons and layout."
So far, so easier, but the real nut of the announcement is the speech translation tool that had us searching high and low for a bi-lingual friend to help us test it out in real time. Having few friends, we failed.
This is an experimental feature, and one that lets you talk at your phone in your language and your phone, in return, talks at your friend in their language.
Google calls this Conversation Mode, and is likely hoping that it will not turn into mis-communication mode thanks to wrongly translated messages. Because of this it has thrown more than a couple of caveats at users.
"Because this technology is still in alpha, factors like regional accents, background noise or rapid speech may make it difficult to understand what you're saying" added Verma. "Even with these caveats, we're excited about the future promise of this technology to be able to help people connect across languages."
Google claims that its Translate for Android software supports 53 languages. With, we assume, moderate success. µ
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