Google is making it easier to understand people who speak foreign languages. In an announcement on Tuesday, the company said that Google Translate for Android can now transcribe spoken language in real-time, enabling the user to read what is being said on the screen as it scrolls by. The new feature is rolling out now with support for several major languages.
Google Translate is most commonly used to translate written text, but it has some other useful features. The latest is a real-time audio transcription tool that converts spoken words into digital text. The feature is found alongside the Camera and Conversations features within the Google Translate app.
With this, you only need to be within listening distance of someone speaking a different language. Google Translate listens to the spoken words using your smartphone’s microphone and uses its software to automatically transcribe and translate the text. The final product appears as scrolling words on a black background.
The initial feature launch on Android will include real-time language support for German, English, French, Russian, Spanish, Hindi, and Thai. Google says that once the update reaches your region, you’ll need to download and install it in order to access the new ‘Transcribe’ feature.
Users are able to pause the transcription at any time, change the text size, and switch to a dark theme. The Google Translate app’s home screen has been redesigned to accommodate the new Transcribe button. Google says that it is best to use the feature in a ‘quiet environment’ at this point in time, but that Conversation mode is best for back-and-forth talks.