There are times when you would need Google Translate not just to make you understand a word or phrase or a restaurant menu, but a whole conversation or speech. Back in January, Google introduced an “almost real-time translator” that will be available for mobile devices. The Transcribe mode is now rolling out for Android devices and you will be able to use it to give you transcription and translation of foreign language speeches and conversations as they are happening.
Update your Google Translate app to the latest version and you will see the new Transcribe mode. It appears next to the Camera and Conversation modes while the Handwriting and Voice input have been moved right above the text field. When you tap Transcribe, you will have to choose the source and target languages from the dropdown first to set it up. Then tap on the mic to start listening to the speech or conversation.
You can also use that mic to pause and restart your transcription. The translated text will appear above and you can customize some parts of it like text size and whether to use regular or dark theme. You can even also show the original text and the translated text will appear beside it. Just tap on the settings to customize before you start the real-time, or almost real-time transcription.
At launch, there are only eight languages available for the Transcribe mode: English, French, German, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Thai. Also, they are recommending that this would work best if you’re in a quiet environment and if it’s just one person speaking. In instances of two people talking to each other, they suggest using the Conversation mode but it will still try to provide the gist of what it’s hearing.
Google said they will continue improving the mode and will work on making “speech translations available in a variety of situations”. The update is rolling out to Google Translate apps now so go and check if you have Transcribe mode now.