At CES 2019, Google announced interpreter mode for Google Home speakers and Smart Displays. The Assistant feature began rolling out earlier this month, and is now fully available for consumers as Google talks up the benefits for concierge and hotels.
This real-time translation can be initiated a number of ways from “Hey Google, be my Thai interpreter” to “Hey Google, help me speak Spanish” and “Ok Google, open interpreter mode.” With the latter prompt, Google will ask what languages you want translated, with 26 currently supported.
On the Google Home Hub, the UI is split into two columns with an audible tone noting when users can start speaking in their desired language after Assistant finishes translating. Smart Displays provide the benefit of a visual transcription, which is helpful in catching any errors. Interpreter mode fully works on smart speakers, with “Stop,” “quit,” and “exit” stopping translation, with the standard left to right swipe also working on screens.
It joins a similar feature in the Google Translate app on Android and iOS, as well as on all Google Assistant headphones. However, unlike those two categories of devices, Google is targeting interpreter mode for concierge settings.
The Google Home Hub with this translation functionality has been trialed at the front desks of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Dream Downtown in New York City, and Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport. Smart Displays can feature a custom interpreter mode UI that shows hotel branding, and a prompt explaining what languages are available. This is one big way for Google to bring its smart devices to business settings.
Previously, if the concierge staff at Caesars Palace needed to help a non-English speaking guest, they’d have to dial their in-house translation service and pass the phone back and forth with them. Now, with interpreter mode on the Google Home Hub, concierge staff can personally provide guest recommendations in real time—leading to better service, plus quicker and easier guest transactions.
Spanish, Mandarin and French have been the three most popular languages translated, and patrons are using interpreter mode when they need to do things like check into their rooms or request amenities like towels or ice.
At Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, where the concierge team welcome numerous international guests due to the hotel’s proximity to the airport, Korean, Japanese, and Mandarin have been the top translated languages. Guests typically use the feature to get help with questions about San Francisco landmarks, tourist destinations and to discover restaurants nearby