When holidaying somewhere where English isn’t the first language, we at Team Recombu like to at least brush up on the basics. Hellos, directions, please and thank yous, goodbyes etc. Sheepishly muttering ‘Sprechen sie Englisch?’ (or its equivalent) is acutely embarrassing and just a little rude.
Thank Google then, for the recently updated Google Translate Android app. The latest version of the app, launched last year, includes a new Conversation Mode. The idea is that it’ll translate live conversations as they happen, helping you to learn the local lingo.
We can’t see this working that well at the moment; Google admits that “factors like regional accents, background noise or rapid speech may make it difficult [for the app] to understand what you're saying.” So it’s still early days.
For the time being, Conversation Mode only supports English-Spanish translations too. But it hints at a future of real-time translations and (worryingly) Babelfish-style Bluetooth earpieces.
As well as Conversation Mode, Google Translate has been given a visual overhaul, with nicer-looking drop downs and a clearer layout.
We’re looking forwards to seeing how Google Translate develops. Our interest will also hinge on whether or not later versions of the app will allow us to beatbox in German from our phones.