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Google’s incredible new live speech translation feature goes live on Android and iPhone

Published Dec 12th, 2019 10:11AM EST
Google Assistant
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Google on Thursday unveiled a brand new Google Assistant feature that you’ll totally love, especially if you have to travel frequently to countries where you don’t speak the local language. The brand new interpreter mode will be available on phones to provide real-time translation, which could prove to be a life-saver.

Take the example below that Google offers. We’re looking at an English to German translation between a patron at a restaurant and a waiter about the contents of food. Those people traveling with EpiPens on them at all times will surely appreciate this little Assistant feature that will ensure the person taking their order understands precisely what they’re allergic to.

Image source: Google

The interpreter feature will come in handy in many other situations that aren’t quite as life-and-death as the example in the animation above. All you have to do to trigger the interpreter mode is to use the brand new command — Hey Google, be my [Insert language] translator. Start speaking, and you’ll see the translated conversation on the phone.

Google says that after each translation, the Assistant may offer Smart Replies that will let you quickly reply without speaking. You’ll also be able to type rather than speak your commands in cases where you don’t want to be disruptive by talking out loud.

The new feature is available on both Android and iPhone, although it’ll work a lot faster on Android, where Assistant is already built into the operating system and can be invoked more quickly than on iPhone. The app works with 44 languages, so you’ll have to test it out before leaving for your next destination to see whether the language you need is supported.

The feature is already built into Assistant and won’t require a separate app download, as Google explains. It’ll start rolling out worldwide on Thursday to all phones that have Google Assistant installed.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.