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Google Translate is getting a real-time transcription feature

Google will add a real-time transcription feature to the Google Translate Android app in the near future, according to new plans.

The company demonstrated the feature at its offices in San Francisco this week, saying users will be able to record audio in one language while it is rendered into text, in another language, simultaneously (via The Verge).

Related: Google’s Live Transcribe will turn your Android phone into a second pair of ears

Google has said that this feature will probably require an internet connection at launch, as it is far more complex than existing Google Translate features. It will also require live audio, recorded through a smartphone microphone, rather than an audio file, at least to begin with.

The feature will be based on AI modelling which cleverly adapts for dialects and accents, attempting to deliver a clear and precise translation in the end, or at least a good understandable approximation of the speaker’s words.

Google has offered no time frame yet for this feature, simply saying it’s a plan for the future. It definitely sounds useful though, especially for those learning languages, (though we can already imagine a lot of school children using it to cheat on their homework.)

Last year Google loaded a lot of interesting and useful updates into Google Translate. A clean-up of the instant camera translation was one of the most remarkable – the feature lets you point your phone camera at some text to see a translation.

This feature is great for road signs, menus and similar text-based travel quandaries. Updates added 60 languages and got rid of some of the feature’s bugs, including annoying flickering and shakiness.

google translate app

The Google Translate camera translation function also got an AI upgrade – now packing Neural Machine Translation (NMT) as standard. Google said this will reduce errors by 55-85% in some languages.

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