Voice-activated Google Translate arrives on your PC

Two months after launching a voice-activated Google Translate iPhone app, Google has brought the voice input feature to Google browsers. Thanks to its HTML Speech Input API, developers can provide the ability to transcribe voice to text. Google has added this capability to the latest releases of Chrome, such as Google Chrome 11 beta. When you go to Google Translate in Chrome, you can click the microphone icon and record the text you wish to translate.

Google Translation voice input

If the target language supports text-to-speech, then you can play back the translation as well. Which means that web applications that provide speech-to-speech translation are not only possible, but will most probably be available in the near future thanks to Google’s nifty APIs.

Currently, voice-recorded translation is only supported in English, so the microphone icon is only displayed when you select English as your source language. However, more voice input languages are sure to be added, since the Google Translate iPhone app supports voice activation in many other languages including French, German, Italian, Spanish and more.

Google Translation iPhone appI tested the new feature on Chrome and on the iPhone app. Both of them work reasonably well if you speak loudly, clearly and with no significant background noise. The iPhone app is magic and should prove to be a valuable asset on your foreign travels.

In other news, Google Translate blog reported today that it launched an update to Google Translate for Android that allows you to listen to translations in several more languages using text-to-speech. Funny that the Google Translate app for Android is lagging so far behind the iPhone app and does not feature voice activation. Is it because the iPhone has superior hardware?

6 thoughts on “Voice-activated Google Translate arrives on your PC”

  1. Out of curiosity, do you know where Google is harvesting the voice output for the target languages? If their voice databases are crowd-sourced like the text in reCAPTCHA, which Google uses to transcribe electronic documents, then they’re bound to be subject to online trolling. Communities like 4chan and reddit are well known for spamming engines like this with gobbledygook, profanities, and racial slurs.

    It’ll be interesting to see how this system is managed :)

  2. Well Zachary I know for sure that billions of voices were collected by google with their 1-800-GOOG-411 service inbetween 2007 and 2010. Dot.

  3. Good progress. Voice translation seems to be an alternative choice for Google Translate users but I foresee some limitation when this programme is used. The problem is, people have accents that slightly differ from one other in the real world especially in English. So, this might affect the translation accuracy.

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