Smart speakers help provide answers about the world in a quick and conversational manner, with Assistant devices particularly excelling due to Google Search. At CES 2019, Google is making every Home and Smart Display into a translation device with Interpreter Mode.

Translation has always been a part of the Google Assistant, with Pixel Buds in 2017 — and later all Assistant headphones — featuring real-time Google Translate. This capability is also available on phones by installing Google Translate, but it is now coming to Smart Displays and speakers.

“Hey Google, be my French interpreter” will start Interpreter Mode, with Assistant supporting 27 languages at launch. Both class of devices support real-time spoken translations with participants speaking one at a time to the device and then hearing the output. However, Smart Displays also feature written translations to “aid the conversation.”

The latter is particularly useful in a concierge setting, with Smart Displays able to show a customized screen advertising the functionality and noting supported languages, along with location-specific branding. For example, at a hotel desk, it could help foreign visitors ask and receive local help from staff.

We’ll be piloting Interpreter Mode this week at CES at the concierge desk in Caesars Palace, and at the Hyatt in San Francisco and Dream Downtown in New York City. Stop by any of these places to try it out!

For everyone else, Interpreter Mode is launching in the coming weeks on Google Home devices and Smart Displays.


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