Translation is a difficult task to navigate. Often times, unless you or someone you know is fluent in both yours and the troublesome tongue of another, we’re left with hand gestures to get our point across to one another. Google, as they do so many of life’s little problems, is working on solving this for us.
According to Hugo Barra, who would probably know about things like this, Google is working on real-time translation technology. Much like their current Google Translate technology, which lets two parties talk into a device and have the message display in their native dialect, this centers around conversational situations. The difference is this new process involves conversations over the phone, not personal interaction.
According to Barra, the technology is “close to one hundred percent accurate” and “near perfect for certain language pairs”. The device is currently being tested with prototype devices at Google, but could be years away from making its way to consumers. “That is where we’re headed. We’ve got tons of prototypes of that sort of interaction, and I’ve played with it every other week to see how much progress we’ve made.” said Barra.
The technology is still very touchy, working best in “controlled environments”. Those who were in situations with a lot of background noise found the technology suspect. There was no mention as to which phones/devices Google was using to test the technology, so we can’t speculate on any hardware limitations that may be hindering the project.
As you may have imagined, this is all part of Google Now’s push for real-time, real-world problem solving. Google Translate is useful for some situations, but not if you need to chat with a relative overseas.
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