Google takes one step closer to universal translator

Posted on January 15, 2015

 

A recent upgrade to Google Translate has been designed to facilitate real-time conversation between people speaking different languages.

The new function of the search engine’s mobile app will mean that users will be able to use their smartphones to help with communication while on the move. However, Google still has some way to go before its software becomes a seamless universal translator.

The dream of many science fiction writers over the years, such a device would allow for people to speak and be understood instantly in any language. For internet marketing specialists, this would potentially also open up SEO from Liverpool to Lübeck and Lanzhou.

A voice tool has been added to the Google service to help with its usability. Although such voice tools have been available on the app for some time, it is now said to be more user friendly.

Working through the microphone of the handheld device that the app is installed upon, users can speak into it, with the translated request being broadcast by a synthetic voice.

The software is reportedly designed to pick up on the languages being spoken in a conversation, so that it knows what to translate to. So far, it is able to recognise and convert communications in 80 world languages.

Meanwhile, a second new feature on the Google Translate app allows for visual translations, which can be used for such items as signs and menus. In a few years’ time, it would not be unthinkable for the app, if successful, to instantly convert any writing on screen, opening up a new world of possibilities for marketers.

Tom Evans

When he’s not editing web copy and news articles at work, Web Content Editor Tom sates his love for the written word by losing himself in a good book.

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