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How to use the Google Pixel Buds to translate in real time
Google makes it easier than ever to communicate with people when you don’t share a common language. With a few apps, here’s how to use the Google Pixel Buds translate feature to speak with just about anyone.
To get live translation through your Pixel Buds, you need a device running Android 6.0 or later, the Google Assistant app, and the Google Translate app.
Wear the Pixel Buds, unlock your phone, and connect your buds to your phone. Hold one earbud and say, "Google, help me speak Arabic." This will launch the Translate app. Hold one of the earbuds and speak in your native language. Google will translate that to the designated language. Pass the phone to your conversation partner and let them speak. The Pixel Buds will relay the translation to you in your native language. Repeat until you're done talking to each other.
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What are the requirements for using Google Translate through the Pixel Buds?
Before you can get to translating conversations in real-time, you need the following:
How to use the Live Translate feature with your Pixel Buds
It’s just a few steps to use the live translate feature through your Pixel Buds in a conversation. We’ll use English as the example native language. If you have Google Assistant installed on your phone, here’s how the translation works:
- Tap and hold the touch panel on one of your Pixel Buds and say, “Hey, Google, help me speak Arabic.”
- This will open the Google Translate app’s conversation mode with your default language and the requested language, in this case, Arabic.
- Hold the touch panel on one of your Pixel Buds again.
- Keep holding your earbud’s touch panel and speak in your native language.
- Let go of your earbud when you’re done talking.
- Your phone will translate what you’ve said in your native language (e.g. English) to the output language (e.g. Arabic).
- Pass your phone to your conversation partner so that they can read the translation.
- Your partner must press the microphone icon and begin speaking.
- When they’re done, your Pixel Buds will relay their translated response in English.
- Repeat this until you’re done talking.
If you don’t want to press the earbuds while you speak, try the automatic conversation mode. With this enabled, Google Translate detects the language each person is speaking and outputs it. There’s no need for you to press any controls on the buds or your phone.
Grammar may not be completely correct when using Google Translate, but each person should be able to get the gist of what the other is communicating.
Although Google Translate is a powerful tool, its translations aren’t perfect. There may be some grammatical errors, or it may miss the mark when conveying humor or idioms. Even still, the other party will get the gist of what you’re trying to communicate. Of course, it can be nerve-wracking to hand your phone to a stranger, but if you’re in a bind, access to important information is worth it.
Can other earbuds translate like Google Pixel Buds?
Other earbuds cannot translate like the Google Pixel Buds. With a OnePlus 11 and the OnePlus Buds Pro 2, I tried using Google Translate with English to German, but the experience was not as seamless.
When in conversation mode, my conversation partner could only read the German translation of my English input. The app sent all audio output through the Buds 2 Pro. The English-to-German translations should have been audible to her. However, when I used the Pixel Buds A-Series, she could read and hear the German translation of my English input. Suffice it to say, you need Pixel Buds for a fully functional earbuds translation experience.
Google Translate works with an iPhone, and you can do it in real-time, just like you can with an Android phone. You must download the Google Translate and the Google Assistant apps for iOS. You can then open the Google Assitant app and say, “Hey, Google, help me speak German,” and use it as you would on Android.
The Google Translate app can translate 40 languages. Here’s a comprehensive list:
- Chinese (Mandarin only)
Yes, the Google Pixel Buds translate well, but the process is a bit clunky. Be sure the other person speaking understands that they must tap the mic icon before they can begin talking. Otherwise, Google will not translate everything they say.