Google Translate

Back in September, we spotted work on a “Continuous Translation” feature in the Translate app on Android. Google today previewed its “almost real time translator” for long-form speech called “Transcribe.”

Transcribe will be a new mode within Google Translate for Android that listens for speech — specifically long-form lectures, programs, and other audio — and converts it into your desired language in real-time as a live-updating transcript that features proper punctuation.

The experience ends up being very similar to the Google Recorder app introduced on the Pixel 4 and later made available to older Google devices. One demo today sees English input translated to Spanish in what Google touts as being “close to real time.” When this feature launches, it will require an internet connection — unlike the on-device Recorder or existing offline Translate capabilities.

There are some preferences in Transcribe to customize what the output looks like, including text size and a dark theme, as well as the ability to show the original text.

Google Translate’s Transcribe mode turns your Android device into an “almost real time translator device for long form speech.” Google sees this “as a significant experimental step to unlock continuous speech translations in this world at scale.” Potential use cases include students wanting to understand a lecture in another language, or at least the gist.

The service today translates over 140 billion words daily, with 95% of users outside the United States. Google did not provide a timeline for when Translate’s new Transcribe mode is launching beyond “in the future.”

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: