Google Assistant's interpreter mode will help you speak foreign languages

Google Assistant on the Pixel 4 XL
Google Assistant on the Pixel 4 XL (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is using its machine learning smarts to turn Assistant into a real-time translator for users.
  • This feature is known as interpreter mode, and it'll help you converse in a foreign language either through speech or text.
  • It's rolling out today for both iOS and Android users.

Just in time for Christmas, Google's Assistant is getting far more helpful for international travelers. The company is rolling out a new feature known as interpreter mode. As its name suggests, this is a feature that'll let you communicate back and forth while abroad even if you don't know the language.

First, you'll need to have Google Assistant set up on either your iPhone or your Android phone. Once that's done, invoking the Assistant with prompts like "Hey Google, be my German translator" or "Hey Google, help me speak Spanish" will turn on interpreter mode. You'll then be able to have your conversation partner either type or speak in the language you're translating from and have Google relay it to you in your own preferred language. Assistant may also offer smart replies to help facilitate conversation if you're not quite sure what an appropriate response would be.

Naturally, while it probably won't be good at helping you converse drunkenly in a foreign bar, it'll be good for little things like asking for directions to local attractions and similar touristy things. Google supports 44 languages for interpreter mode, including Arabic, Hindi, Polish, and Russian (you can see the full list of supported languages here.)

With the Google Assistant pre-installed on virtually every mainstream Android phone, it'll be interesting to see if this truly useful feature catches on.

Michael Allison