Earlier this month Google released its first pair of wireless earphones, the Google Pixel Buds. Undoubtedly this is Google’s latest challenge against Apple – by targeting the Apple Airpods. While the two are very similar in functionality, Google have added an extra function to elevate their product. Through the Pixel Buds and a connection to Google translate on a smartphone, users have the ability to translate 40 different languages in real time.
Though Apple is yet to launch a response, there is currently an app that already facilitates iOS users. Dubbed as one of Apple COO Jeff Williams' ‘personal favourites’, iTranslate Converse is the new real time translation app from Austria based company iTranslate.
This slick, easy-to-use application enables users to translate various languages by prompting them to direct their smartphone’s microphone towards an individual speaking in a foreign language. To enable the app to properly operate, users are required to select the languages they wish to converse in, press and hold the screen whilst someone is speaking and releasing for the translation via the speaker. So you can keep track of your invigorating conversations with your friends from around the world, a transcript of the conversation is saved for future reference.
Whilst emojis have helped to develop a universal language via social and online communications, there are still sufficient barriers in verbal communications. The likes of iTranslate Converse is helping to create more shared, physical experiences between people of different cultures. With the application now compatible with the Apple Watch, the ability to translate communications in real time will become even more seamless, instant and without the necessity of a smartphone. This is a key objective for the company it seems as we had the pleasure of conversing with Alex Marktl, CEO of iTranslate.
What was the vision for the use of this application?
To make voice translation work it's not enough to just improve the translation technology itself, you also need to make it work in real world scenarios where you deal with sloppy microphone input or background noise. And all of that should be fun, simple and fast to use.
What future developments are you working on for the application?
Our vision is to make speech translation work independently from an Internet connection. We believe that only then can a speech translation product be robust and reliable enough to truly change the way we communicate across languages.
Could there be a possibility of integrating the application with an accessory similar to the Ear Translator or Google Pixel Buds?
With iTranslate Converse, our goal is to reduce friction, to make it as simple and accessible as possible. Once you bring in new layers (like hardware) you add friction (i.e you make it harder to use). We have other products to cover those kind of scenarios.
Converse is available on iOS and will be available on android before the end of the year. We can’t wait to see what future innovative updates come from this must have app.