December 13, 2019
Hey, Google, be my Spanish translator
In January, Google announced a cool new feature that turns the Google Assistant into a two-way language interpreter, but it only worked visually on smart displays, which generally aren't used in the real world, when people are traveling.
But now, just in time for the holidays, Google is finally making Interpreter Mode available on mobile Android and iOS phones. As always, Google is rolling the feature out and it could take up to a week for it to make it across the network.
You start by asking Google to "be my Spanish translator," and then the Assistant takes over. You speak your phrase, and Google translates it, in audio and text and in real time, and the person on the other end can speak into your phone with the answer and keep the two-way conversation going.
Additionally, Google will offer "smart replies," as well, its artificial intelligence predictions on the answers it thinks you want. Google's suggestions "let you quickly respond without speaking—which can make your conversations faster and even more seamless," according to the company.
Another advantage, per Google: "the ability to type with someone using your keyboard in quiet environments or manually select when you want to speak what language if you need more control over the conversation.
The two key phrases to know to kick in the feature: "Hey, Google, be my German translator" or "Hey, Google, help me speak Thai."
This is different from how many of us now use Google translation features now. On the Assistant app on iOS devices, you open it up, speak your phrase "How do you say hello in Spanish?" and the Assistant responds with audio and text replies. (No app is needed on Android devices, as the Assistant is built into the phones.)
The Google Translate app, for both iOS and Android, lets you take pictures of text, and have the assistant convert their words into other languages.
To use Google's new Interpreter Mode, be sure to have the latest edition of the Google Assistant app on iOS.
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