[Update: Italian] Google Translate’s real-time translation feature is rolling out now
A few months ago, Google started work on a new feature in Translate called “Continuous Translation.” This feature was eventually shown off to the public in January earlier this year, but now it’s finally ready for primetime. The feature is now called “Transcribe” and it will be rolling out to Google Translate for Android in the next few days.
In a nutshell, Transcribe allows you to record spoken words in one language and have them translated on your phone in near real-time. The use cases for this are easy to see. You can translate your own speech, someone who is speaking to you, or hold it up to a computer speaker or TV. The translation happens without any noticeable processing delay.
This differs from Google Translate’s current transcription feature that requires you to input text or voice and then wait for a translation. Google says that “wasn’t well suited to listen[ing] to a longer translated discussion at a conference, a classroom lecture or a video of a lecture, a story from a grandparent, etc.”
Using the new feature is pretty straightforward. When you open Google Translate for Android, you’ll see a new “Transcribe” button under the text box. Tap this and you’ll be brought to the Listen page where you can select the languages. Just tap the microphone icon to start listening or to pause translation. At launch, Transcribe supports English, French, German, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Thai.
Google Translate’s live-transcription feature started rolling out in March with support for 8 languages. That number is now 9 as Italian has been added to the list. Simply go to the Transcribe section and select Italian.