Google Translate today launched Transcribe for Android, a feature that delivers a continual, real-time translation of a conversation. Transcribe will begin by rolling out support for eight languages in the coming days: English, French, German, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai. With Transcribe, Translate is now capable of translating classroom or conference lectures with no time limits, whereas before speech-to-text AI in Translate lasted no longer than a word, phrase, or sentence. Google plans to bring Transcribe to iOS devices at an unspecified date in the future.
Transcribe users can change the size of text that appears on screen for real-time translations or pause or resume a translation at any time.
This is the latest real-time speech-to-text AI from Google. News today follows the announcement that Google Assistant now has the ability to read or translate 43 languages from a website with simple voice commands. Both the text-reading feature for Google Assistant and Transcribe for Translate were first previewed by Google in January.
The new Transcribe feature utilizes Live Transcribe speech engine coupled with cloud tensor processing units (TPU) to potentially deliver multiple updates to a translation every second. Google open-sourced Live Transcribe last year to enable developers to convert long portions of speech into text and encouraged projects for people who are hearing impaired.
Google also introduced a Recorder app with real-time translation for Pixel smartphones last fall.
Though Transcribe comes with no time limits, at launch Translate is unable to export speech recording audio or a translation transcription. Since speech-to-text AI still gets things wrong sometimes, the ability to export text and audio can be important to correct mistakes made by artificial intelligence. This is available in apps like Recorder and other popular tools for long-form text transcription. Google is considering introducing the ability to export text and audio in the future, a company spokesperson told VentureBeat.
In other helpful translation tools, Google brought Interpreter Mode to smart speakers last year, and Google Translate and Google Lens got the ability to translate text seen in real life, like on signs or restaurant menus, simply by pointing your camera at it.