Google Translate Launches English-Spanish Conversation Mode

By Wesley Fenlon

Traveling in South America just got that much easier.

Three months ago Google’s Eric Schmidt talked about the future of voice-to-text for translations which he hopes will lead to an “ augmented version of humanity.” One month ago, Word Lens made massive waves online by tackling the same goal with the written, rather than spoken, word.

refreshed Google Translate for Android, tweaking the app’s user interface and delivering an alpha of the software it announced back in September. It’s called Conversation Mode, and delivers voiced translations back-and-forth between Spanish and English. For an alpha, it works amazingly well.

My Spanish is terrible, but good enough to tell that my English sentences were being translated accurately. Trying to respond in Spanish was mostly a disaster, and Translate was rarely able to correctly identify my words. Hopefully we can chalk that up to embarrassingly bad pronunciation. Even if the Spanish translation is lacking, we’re sure it will get better.

Try out Conversation Mode in the new Translate. It’s free!