Google has already made a name for itself as a leader in language processing in the era of globalization. The company has created an Assistant that understands several languages, it has developed a translation tool for its Android devices and added a webpage translation feature to its Chrome browser. Even Google Home devices can help you out by translating words for you. But the achievements don’t stop there. Google Assistant is now able to act as your personal interpreter! Here’s a look at the new interpreter mode, including: What is it? How do you use it? Who is it for?
Essentially, the interpreter mode is a translation tool that works in real time. When activated, it listens to your conversation and translates each sentence. But what’s really neat is that it can translate in both directions to facilitate conversation between people speaking different languages. So, if you speak English to someone from Germany, it will translate each of your statements into German. And then it will translate their answers into English for you. In other words, it works as your interpreter.
The new feature is currently available on Google Home devices and other gadgets that come equipped with Google Assistant. To activate interpreter mode, simply say “Hey Google, be my Spanish interpreter” or “Hey Google, help me speak Mandarin.” Note that you must use English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish to start using interpreter mode. The device will start listening to you talk and provide bilingual translation in the two languages you selected. Interpreter Mode currently supports 26 of the most widely spoken languages in the world. That means you still can’t use it for trips to places like Iceland, but it stands to reason that more languages will be added in the coming months.
But the most important question is: Who will this feature help? While most of us will never be invited to a wine and cheese at the United Nations, new travel trends, like discount flight operators and alternative accommodations platforms (Airbnb), are making international travel more affordable than ever. Since language barriers still hold people back from travelling, Google Assistant’s interpreter mode may prove helpful to many. You could find yourself discussing history with a local teacher in Athens, art with a gallery owner in Milan or politics with a student in Berlin. New levels of cultural exchange are sure to follow! Of course, the interpreter feature also promises to enhance customer service, especially when paired with Smart Display. For example, think of how it could improve communication between employees and guests at a Spanish youth hostel.
The tool could also help you hone your skills in a second language. All you have to do is say, “Ok Google, help me speak Hungarian,” and the Assistant will translate your English sentence into Hungarian. Then it’s just a matter of repeating the Hungarian sentence back and seeing whether the device is able to understand you well enough to translate the idea back into English.
Google Assistant’s interpreter mode still has room for improvement, but it’s already pretty impressive thanks to Google’s experience in the translation field. When you think of how many people have to juggle different languages every day (business leaders, flight attendants, hotel concierges, ambassadors, tourist guides, and even hockey coaches), this new feature is sure to become very popular. And we expect it will get a lot better over time. It may eventually be able to start translating before a sentence is complete, just like human simultaneous interpreters. In fact, real-time interpreting seems even more plausible if you add wireless earbuds to the experience. Time will tell!
Let us know what you think about Google Assistant’s interpreter mode on the Videotron Forum. Is this a game-changer or just another useless feature? If you think you’ll use it, tell us how!