Android 12 Beta 2 hints at a new Google “Live Translate” feature
The second Android 12 beta landed earlier today, and we’ve been digging into the firmware to find new features. There are loads of changes to be found in the latest build, and some of the changes aren’t live yet because of missing components. One of the features that could be coming to a future Android 12 build for Pixel phones could be called “Live Translate.”
Android 12 Beta 2 for the Pixel 5 (and possibly other Pixel devices) contains a new version of the SettingsIntelligence app. SettingsIntelligence is a system app that provides additional features and search terms to the main Settings app. The latest version of SettingsIntelligence, version 126.96.36.1992474662, contained the following new strings:
<string name="auto_translate_switch_title">Use Live Translate</string>\n<string name="auto_translate_title">Live Translate</string>
Examining the app’s code, we learned that this “Live Translate” feature will actually be provided as part of another app, Device Personalization Services. SettingsIntelligence will surface a toggle to enable Live Translate right from Settings if the user’s search query contains one of these terms: “auto”, “auto translate”, “translate auto”, or “translate”. However, the toggle won’t be shown if the following component isn’t present:
com.google.android.as/com.google.android.apps.miphone.aiai.translate.settings.settingsui.AutoTranslateSettingPortalActivity, and it also won’t be shown if the device is running an older version than Android 12. The latest version of Device Personalization Services does not have the aforementioned component (
com.google.android.as is the package name for DPS) nor does it contain any direct mentions of this “Live Translate” feature.
As for what exactly this “Live Translate” feature will do, we have a couple of guesses. Based on the name, it’s possible the feature will transcribe and then translate speech detected on-device in real-time. Basically, it’d be an extension to Live Caption, which currently only transcribes speech into text of the same language. The Google Translate app is already capable of real-time translation, so a system-wide Live Translate feature is something I can see Google adding.
Google is also working on another translation-related feature for Pixel phones: UI translations for apps. It’s possible that Live Translate is simply the marketing name for this UI translation feature, as our earlier investigation of the feature revealed another unreleased activity in the Device Personalization Services app related to translation. Until we get our hands on an updated version of DPS, we won’t know for sure, but we’ll continue digging into Android 12 Beta 2 to see what we can find. If you’re interested in what else we’ve found, you can read through the Twitter thread linked below or wait for our summary to go live on XDA.
Android 12 Beta 2 is here! Read about the announced changes here: https://t.co/Bulw2ruPeW
As always, here’s a thread detailing the changes I’ve found while using the Beta:
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) June 9, 2021
Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.