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Google prototyping real-time translation technology with 'near perfect' results

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Google Beta translation
Google Beta translation

Google is currently prototyping a real-time translation technology that could revolutionize the way people communicate when abroad. Android VP Hugo Barra offered some details on the initiative — which exceeds the scope of Google's current translate services — to The UK Times. "We've got tons of prototypes of that sort of interaction, and I've played with it every other week to see how much progress we've made," Barra said. Google's Babelfish-like concept could theoretically allow two people who speak different languages to speak into a device and have their words translated with zero delay.

Experimentation in this area isn't new for Google. Google Translate for Android already contains a "Conversation" mode that immediately translates back-and-forth discussions between two languages . But accuracy is paramount here, and that's where Google's existing solutions fall a bit short. With the prototypes, Barra says the company is seeing encouraging progress on that front. Google's system has proven "near-perfect for certain language pairs" according to the executive, who cited conversion between English and Portuguese as one such example. Just don't expect to see it in the next Nexus device: Barra says Google remains in the "early stages" of exploring such technology — a position other high-ups have shared for years now.