Google working on real-time phone convo translation

Google's across-the-board implementation of speech-to-text in the Android platform is nothing short of groundbreaking. Never before have we seen such functionality so heavily integrated into a mobile device. But why stop with text entry? Why not take it a step further?

According to Slashgear, Google plans to incorporate real-time translation of people's phone conversations into the Android platform. This would allow two people to speak with each other in different languages without a problem. As the person on one end speaks, Google would translate his words and re-speak them to the person on the other end. Google's head of translation, Franz Och, believes that this technology will "work reasonably well in a few years' time."

"Clearly, for it to work smoothly, you need a combination of high-accuracy machine translation and high-accuracy voice recognition, and that’s what we’re working on. If you look at the progress in machine translation and corresponding advances in voice recognition, there has been huge progress recently. Everyone has a different voice, accent and pitch, but recognition should be effective with mobile phones because by nature they are personal to you. The phone should get a feel for your voice from past voice search queries, for example."

It seems like Google has a long way to go before this becomes a full blown reality, but yes, they are working on it diligently. Imagine being able to speak to your overseas cousin without having to worry about the language barrier. If Och is right, and your phone will really be able to learn from the other conversations you have, perhaps this vision of Google's will soon become a reality. Then again, Google Voice still has ways to go with basic voice transcription.

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15 Comments

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Maybe this would make it so not everyone in the world speaks English... like the way things are going now...

The only problem I see is when people use sayings that don't translate into the other language. Everyone will have to speak very plainly. Even the names of colours don't always translate well (a lot of east asian countries see many shades of green as shades of blue)

You know what I'd like to see? A Morse code button on my mobile. Way faster than texting, and it could be translated into text for readability.

dmd3x said,
You know what I'd like to see? A Morse code button on my mobile. Way faster than texting, and it could be translated into text for readability.

I highly doubt that many people would be faster at tapping out morse code than they would be at typing on a keyboard/numpad.

I wouldn't mind this function for every conversation from English to English.

How cool would it be to go back to conversations you have had, and say "see, you really did say this." Or, use the search on the phone and search convo's for important info that you may need to recall again.

That's fricking awesome.... it really is. Google really are innovating with some incredible products these days. I always look forward to hearing about their new stuff!

Chicane-UK said,
That's fricking awesome.... it really is. Google really are innovating with some incredible products these days. I always look forward to hearing about their new stuff!

+1. And to the Authors point about GV having a ways to go, I've found that very few people leave clear and audible voicemails to begin with, so it understands the words about as well as I do. On the flip side, if Google would let you go online and 'correct' the transcript, and have the computer learn from those voice patterns, that could work quite well!