Google Assistant’s interpreter mode, previously only available on Google Home smart speakers and displays, is rolling out for smartphones today.
If you’re going on a business trip but weren’t able to learn some basic phrases in the language of the country you’re traveling to, this can be a useful tool.
The feature, added to Google Assistant last February, offers real-time translation in both text and audio.
Google Assistant-enabled smartphones running on Android and iOS can now offer the same functionality as Google smart speakers and displays, allowing the user to have a back-and-forth conversation with someone speaking a foreign language.
“To get started, just say ‘Hey Google, be my German translator’ or ‘Hey Google, help me speak Spanish’ and you’ll see and hear the translated conversation on your phone,” wrote Lilian Rincon, the company’s senior director of product management for Google Assistant, in a blog post.
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After each translation, Google Assistant can suggest Smart Replies — the same feature in Gmail and Google Docs that helps you reply to emails and draft documents — so you can respond without even speaking (and possibly butchering the language), making conversations faster and more seamless, Rincon wrote.
Interpreter mode offers translation across 44 language, which is more than the 29 available on smart speakers and displays. Since it’s already integrated with Google Assistant, it’s already on Android phones. For iOS users, they can download the newest Google Assistant app.
In a February 2019 blog post, Google said it had been piloting interpreter mode in some U.S. hotels where the technology has been helping hotel staff and foreign guests interact with one another.
“Interpreter mode can help businesses better serve their guests through an improved customer experience,” Rincon said in that post. And this technology can be a helping hand wherever language barriers exist, including at hotels, airports, restaurants, customer service kiosks, organizations aiding humanitarian efforts and much more.”