Google Assistant breaks language barriers

Tech giant unveils ‘interpreter mode’ that can translate between two people in real time

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Dumb charades in hotel lobbies between a concierge and tourists who don’t speak the local language may soon be a thing of the past. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 currently on in Las Vegas, Google has unveiled a new feature: the ‘interpreter mode’ in Google Assistant, its voice-based Artificial Intelligence (AI). This would enable Google’s virtual assistant to serve as a real-time language translator between two people.

With this feature, which will be rolled out over the next few weeks on Google Home devices and Smart Displays, one can just tell the Google Assistant “Hey Google, be my Japanese interpreter”, and it would function as one. Currently, this feature supports 27 languages, including English, Hindi, Polish, Indonesian, Swedish, Thai, German and Korean.

Trial this week
For starters, the company is piloting the Interpreter Mode this week at the concierge desk in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, and Dream Downtown hotel in New York City.

“By bringing the best of Google services and AI to the Assistant, we’re focussed on building the most helpful digital assistant when you’re at home, in your car, or on the go,” said the company in its blog.