Google Translate will soon work to transcribe longer speeches and more accurately with a new feature that could reportedly arrive within the next few months. Currently undergoing testing in Spanish, German and French, the tool will no longer be limited to snippets of text. The company hasn't provided details regarding the length limits but the implications of that are fairly obvious.
If this is implemented similarly to how other recent transcription tools from Google work, the text shouldn't remain exclusive to the app either. Instead, if Google goes that route, users could ultimately be able to move or export the text to secondary apps for saving.
The applications for the new Google Translate transcribe feature are fairly broad. But the most useful use cases will likely be tied in with speeches or lectures. However, the feature could also find use in other scenarios where context is important since it allows for more in-depth translations of longer runs of speech.
Google Translate will add contextual awareness to transcriptions
Unlike previous iterations and Google Translate features, the latest incoming change is designed to transcribe speech into a second language with contextual awareness. Namely, Google hopes to leverage its AI algorithms centered around speech to automatically correct for translation errors.
More concisely, the tool will analyze speech in real-time, gauging other words and phrasing within a given sentence or set of sentences. It will then change the translation, punctuation, and other aspects of the transcription. The result would be a line of text that better matches what has actually been said.
That should help alleviate some issues commonly found in translation tools where context is lost. One example of the problem that should address stems from the fact that the structure of a sentence isn't going to be the same in every language. So translators will sometimes translate words directly across in the same structure as the original and lose the initial meaning.
Secondary to that, the words used in a given language might change based on those used in surrounding sentences. Punctuation might move as well. With the AI more directly examining those factors in a longer format, errors associated with those should be reduced.
No solid timeline on the arrival of this new feature
While the source indicates that the expected timeline is over the 'coming months', that won't necessarily be the case here. The first indication of that can be found in the fact that the feature requires access to the internet. That's so that Google Translate can communicate directly with the search giant's own servers associated with AI for processing.
That pins the feature as one that's fairly heavy in terms of what is required for it to work properly. And that's setting aside the fact that AI is already a very complex area to work in.
Google isn't likely to release one of its AI products in a state where it doesn't work. Or a feature that doesn't at least work well enough to be usable. So it isn't unlikely this is a project that will be held off for some time to come. That's true even if testing does expand over that timeframe.