Update, August 20 (04:10 pm ET): You can now save these transcripts for later use
What you need to know
- Real-time transcription is now available for Google Translate.
- The feature lets you convert long-form audio content into translate text in another language on the fly.
- It does require an active internet connection to function, however.
Having shown off the feature all the way back in January, Google is finally rolling out real-time transcriptions to Google Translate. What this means is that you can take audio in one language and have the app translate it to text in another language on the fly — and without any delays.
The app's voice input option already allowed you to speak into the phone and have the speech be translated. However, as a Google spokesperson points out to The Verge, the app previously only worked for shorter content and was not "well suited to listen to a longer translated discussion at a conference, a classroom lecture or a video of a lecture, a story from a grandparent, etc."
The Mountain View giant says that the feature combines the AI goodness behind the new transcription feature in the Google Recorder app with its Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) in the cloud to enable the near real-time transcription and translation of audio. Unfortunately, that does mean you need to have an active internet connection to avail the feature.
The new option will be available via a "Transcribe" prompt on Translate's main page. Once you select the option, you can start speaking into the app or even play audio on your laptop, for example, and have the phone listen in. You will also have the ability to customize a few things, such as text size and dark theme options. In addition, the transcription can be paused on command, so that your toddler's screams don't make it into the Russian lecture you're trying to translate.
Real-time transcription for Google Translate is currently rolling out to Android devices, and all users should have the feature by the end of the week. iOS users will eventually also get the same functionality, but Google did not provide a specific date for when that will be. Right now, only English, French, German, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Thai are supported.
Update, August 20 (04:10 pm ET) — You can now save transcriptions for later
Google will now let you save real-time transcriptions made with the Translate app. You can simply tap the new star icon on the top right of the screen to store them away.
The feature remains an Android exclusive at the time of writing, though Google plans to bring it to iOS in the future. Today's update also adds support for Italian, bringing the number of supported languages up to 9.
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