The Google Home ecosystem grows and grows, as does the usefulness of the Google Assistant itself. The announcement at CES means that you can tap into the power of Google Translate and use it for live conversations with those speaking another language.

It’s a really neat feature, and one that Google is hoping will be useful to the service industry, with this translation functionality having been trialled 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 the custom interpreter mode UI that shows specific hotel branding, and a prompt explaining what languages are available to translate. If you didn’t already know, this is one big way for Google to start bringing its smart devices to business settings.

Obviously, the best placements will likely be where you have heavy tourist footfall, but it’s also perfect for those that have family members and aren’t exactly great with foreign languages. One of the neatest aspects of this interpreter mode is that it isn’t just limited to those specific hotel settings.

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Languages available

The number of languages already available is pretty substantial right from the get-go but we expect it to increase over the coming year and hopefully beyond. You can use it right now in 26 languages that include German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish among a larger number of options.

Czech Hungarian Russian
Danish Indonesian Slovak
Dutch Italian Spanish
English Japanese Swedish
Finnish Korean Thai
French Mandarin Turkish
German Polish Ukrainian
Greek Portuguese Vietnamese
Hindi Romanian

How to use Google Home Interpreter mode

Interpreter mode live transcript

  • To access the real-time translation mode ask: “Hey Google, be my Spanish interpreter” / “Hey Google, help me speak German” / “Ok Google, open interpreter mode”.
  • You’ll now get a visual transcript of any translation or conversations you’re currently having — this still works on smart speakers but with no visual cues.
  • To end Interpreter mode simply say “stop” / “quit” or “exit”. Swiping left to right will also exit the translation mode.

We were really positive (and continue to be) about the Google Home Hub. It really is one of the best Smart Displays on the market due to how useful it is and at the same time, how unobtrusive it seems compared to others.

It doesn’t feel like a slab of technology or a speaker. It sits in the middle ground and adds neat tricks like the ability to see your entire home connected devices from one convenient dashboard.

Features like interpreter mode could be the killer addition that sees the Google Home head into more professional settings and really start to create a gap between it and the Amazon Echo Show. It’s most definitely a little slow to be completely honest, which I’m sure could cause some awkward issues but for the most part it’s a great translation tool.

As someone who only has a basic knowledge of a few other languages beyond English, I found it to be more than adequate to converse with a few Polish extended family members and I’m sure that like almost all Google Home features, it will only improve with time.

For now though, it’s a killer feature for the service industry that we can really see taking off. Heck, this could even be the ultimate AirBnB companion that we never thought was needed.

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Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter: @iamdamienwilde. Email:

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