Google has officially launched its interpreter mode for home use. This feature allows people to use Google Home devices and smart displays equipped with Google's artificial intelligence-powered assistant to translate conversations in 26 different languages, and in real time.
Google's official support website lists the languages that Google Assistant can translate in, and to a highlight just a few - English, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish are all included.
Aside from rolling out the feature to devices in homes, Google has also been testing the service at front desks of popular hotels in San Francisco, New York, and Las Vegas. In these instances, hotel guests can use interpreter mode to have a continuous conversation with the concierge crew of the hotel despite not speaking the same language.
The search giant also claims that since placing smart displays that feature its newest translation feature, hotel staff are now more capable of providing recommendations to guests from foreign countries easier, while tourists were able to plan trips and ask assistance from personnel more effectively. So it is probably wise to expect the feature to become more commonplace in the hospitality industry going forward.
For example, Google notes that other businesses and institutions that regularly encounter guests from overseas, including restaurants and non-government organizations, could also benefit from the new feature.
The search giant first announced interpreter mode in January during CES 2019, and so it has taken around a month for Google to start rolling out the feature to supported devices in homes. The company has so far limited this feature to smart displays and speakers as the Android mobile app for Google Translate already supports voice input for translation queries in selected languages on smartphones. The company has also launched other hardware products that work with a phone to offer a similar experience - Google's Pixel Buds, for example.
To activate the new feature, users will need to first trigger Google Assistant by saying something like "Hey Google, be my Thai interpreter" or "Hey Google, help me speak Spanish." Once the feature is enabled, Google Assistant will wait and listen to the statements made by the user, and then translate the sentences in the language requested.
People who have smart speakers will simply hear the interpreted conversation through their devices, while smart display users can expect to see a translated transcript of the dialogue on the screen. The support page for interpreter mode does point out that people must first use either English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish to start using the feature.
The addition of interpreter mode should allow users to more naturally converse with people who speak in different languages. Furthermore, this new feature highlights the search giant's commitment to utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning for innovative features, and especially when it comes to bridging the gap between people. Aside from interpreter mode, Google has been working on on other services that draw on the use of AI in a similar way.
One example is the company's Duplex service that lets people use the search giant’s AI-powered assistant to initiate and lead phone calls when making appointments.