An ability to transcribe messages was leaked as a potential upcoming feature in WhatsApp. Information about the feature has not yet been confirmed by WhatsApp or Facebook, but details leaked this week suggest the “Transcription” system will work with Apple (and likely Google) to transcribe text and improve speech recognition. The first bit of this leak appeared in an iOS build of the app – so we’ll likely see other angles soon.
The folks at WhatsApp Beta Info showed details of a transcription feature from an early build of the iOS version of WhatsApp. This system was previously shown in an Android iteration of the app (through a 3rd-party app), and was effectively further verified as a potential full public release prospect with this latest appearance in iOS code.
For the iOS version of the app, it would appear that the people at WhatsApp will be using Apple’s voice recognition technology for translation services. It’s possible WhatsApp chose to do this to avoid any potential fallout for mishap – or straight up responsibility for the privacy of users that’ll count on whatever service is used to keep their data secure.
It’s not clear yet if the data that suggests this connection to Apple’s speech recognition technology will be the go-to solution for more than just iOS devices. That’s quite likely the situation. In the case of Android devices, it would only be logical that WhatsApp would work with Google’s speech recognition tech to translate for Android users.
Update: WhatsApp confirmed to SlashGear that the feature exists, but there’s no guarantee it’s going to graduate to the app on your smartphone. “We’re in the very early stages of designing and prototyping voice message transcription,” a spokesperson told us. “We’re a long way from being able to offer this feature but if we do roll it out, it will be protected by end-to-end encryption.”