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Google Translate's transcription mode is now available on Android

At launch, there's support for eight languages.

Igor Bonifacic
Igor Bonifacic|@igorbonifacic|March 17, 2020 4:15 PM

Starting today, Google is updating its Translate app to allow people to record and transcribe long conversations into another language. The company first demoed this feature at the start of the year. It allows you to record speech in one language and reproduce what was said in the text of another language in real-time.

According to The Verge, the feature will be available to all Android users by the end of this week. At launch, there's support for eight languages -- English, French, German, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai. What's more, the app is capable of translating freely between them.

Google Translate transcription GIF

Once you've updated to the latest version of Translate, you can use the tool by tapping on the transcribe icon near the center of the interface. You'll then need to select a source and target language. You can use the functionality to translate and transcribe speeches and lectures, though Google notes it works best when you record in a quiet room. You'll also need an internet connection to take advantage of the feature because it relies on Google's Tensor Processing Units (TPUs).

If all of this sounds familiar, it's because the mode builds on the Live Transcribe feature Google built into the Recorder app that's available on its Pixel phones. It's also designed as a compliment to Translate's Conversation mode, which you can use to make sense of single words, as well as phrases and sentences. A Google spokesperson told The Verge that part of the app "wasn't well suited to listen to a longer translated discussion at a conference, a classroom lecture or a video of a lecture," which is why we're getting this new mode.

If you'd like to try Translate's new trick on iOS, you may have to wait a while. The feature is currently exclusive to Android devices, though Google did say it plans to bring it to iOS in the future.

Google Translate's transcription mode is now available on Android