Google announced the launch of Conversation Mode for Google Translate for Android in 12 new languages. Previously, it was only available for English and Spanish, but now it's expanded to Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Russian and Turkish.
With the feature, you speak into the microphone, the app translates what you said and reads it out loud. Then the person you're speaking with can replay in their language, and it will translate what they said and read it back to you.
"This technology is still in alpha, so factors like background noise and regional accents may affect accuracy," says product manager Jeff Chin. "But since it depends on examples to learn, the quality will improve as people use it more. We wanted to get this early version out to help start the conversation no matter where you are in the world."
Other features have been added, aimed at making it easier to speak and read while you translate. "For example, if you wanted to say 'Where is the train?' but Google Translate recognizes your speech as 'Where is the rain?', you can now correct the text before you translate it," says Chin. "You can also add unrecognized words to your personal dictionary."
"When viewing written translation results, you can tap the magnifying glass icon to view the translated text in full screen mode so you can easily show it to someone nearby, or just pinch to zoom in for a close-up view," he adds.
The app itself has also been optimized for tablet screens.