Google includes Arabic support in real-time spoken interpreter
Update to translation app bundles voice-to-voice function, text translation through camera
Google has updated its translation tool with the ability to interpret spoken conversations in real time, according to online media reports.
The search giant is eager to take on Microsoft's Skype, which offers a similar function with language support for English and Spanish only.
Google promised the changes would be rolled out to iOS and Android versions in the coming days, but was not clear on how many languages would be supported. However, ITP.net was able to use the Android version of the app to translate between Arabic and English.
The feature works by tapping the microphone button and speaking. Tapping the microphone button again tells the app the user has finished. It then auto-determines which language is being spoken and displays the English translation in text, followed by a high-quality synthesis (similar in sound to Apple's Siri) of a spoken translation.
Also included in the update is the ability to translate text by pointing the device's camera at it. Google's acquired Word Lens technology allows real-time overlay of the translation, even in offline mode.
Barak Turovsky, who runs the Google Translate project, wrote in a blog that English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish would be supported by Google's Word Lens function, with more languages to follow.