Google’s online translation service has quickly evolved into an incredibly useful tool for language students and tourists alike. But typing text or translating web pages isn’t nearly as exciting as speaking a phrase into your Android smartphone and hearing it spoken back to you in a foreign language.
Welcome to the end of language barriers – in theory, at least.
There are plenty of apps that will use Google’s service to translate text from one language to another, but Google’s official Android app goes one better – it uses voice. In fact, it goes two better – because as well as listening to your words, it will speak the translation back to you.
As with all Google translation services, the Google Translate Android app is reliant on a web connection. Assuming you have one, you can speak into your phone and your voice will be sent to Google’s servers to translate into text. For English speakers, this works remarkably well – and happens in the blink of an eye. We found foreign language recognition a little patchier - and slower (as you’ll see from our video review).
Once your phrase has been turned into text, Google’s translation engine then converts it to a language of your choice – and your phone’s text-to-voice software will speak the resulting phrase.
Google Translate will recognise 15 different spoken languages – and an amazing 53 different written languages. Naturally, it works with some languages better than others – and this new version of the Google Translate app features a ‘conversation mode’ for English-to-Spanish translations, which allows you to easily pass the phone between two people to make conversations a little less stilted. Just be careful not to hand your phone to strangers, no matter how badly you need directions to the nearest toilet.
While English-to-foreign language translations are astonishingly accurate, the same can’t be said for the reverse. So professional interpreters needn’t be quaking in their boots quite yet. But it’s still early days for this awesome translation service, and the more it’s used the better it becomes.
The bottom line
Truly astonishing, groundbreaking app. Enjoy it while it’s an Android exclusive!
Version tested: 2.0.0 (for all Android versions, supports App2SD)