When Google released Translate for Android last January, it brought the web-based translation service to the mobile platform with a few additional features. For instance, it translates voice-dictated sentences and text messages. Yesterday, Google revamped the translation app with several new features including the ability to archive conversations.
The Conversation Mode offers speech translation in real-time. This means that you can talk to people in other languages extremely easily, without the arduous task of typing it in. Two people can speak to the same device in different languages and the app will continuously read out translations in the respective languages. Since this feature is still in the “alpha” stage according to Google, it only supports translating between English and Spanish. Although I suspect Google will be adding additional languages fairly quickly. Keep in mind that while the Conversation Mode doesn’t support all languages, the app still supports 15 languages for voice input and 53 languages for text translations. The remaining changes to the app consist primarily of graphical tweaks to make the layout and icons look cleaner.
I think that the new Conversation Mode is a huge step forward to help people to communicate more effectively. And seems handy for both frequent travelers and tourists. Although it won’t replace actually learning different languages, it does make communicating easier than memorizing basic phrases in other languages. While the new version still requires a click before dictating each phrase, future version will hopefully offer an automated experience. You can download the app by searching the Android Marketplace for “Google Translate.”