Microsoft Translator, the iOS and Android app that enables people speaking different languages to hold a smartphone-assisted conversation, has been updated to include two-device conversation support for those platforms’ respective smartwatches. Users can now speak into, and read text on, their Apple Watch or Android Wear device, while their companion does the same on the tethered handset.
Previously, both speakers had to huddle over a single phone or tablet in order to partake in a facilitated speech-to-translated-text conversation. On iOS, the new version is 1.5.0, while on Android it has been bumped to 18.104.22.168.
Both apps are powered by the same translation engine: the one behind Skype Translator, the futuristic tool that performs real-time voice translation between speakers of different languages. The technology underpinning the engine requires both complex speech recognition and language translation capabilities, achieved through machine learning.
Companies have been inching ever closer to the ultimate goal of seamless, real-time translation since at least 2011, when Google brought Conversation mode to its own language app, Google Translate. Translate’s bilingual translation came to Android Wear back in August.