Itching to strike up a conversation with a certain foreign someone, but the language barrier is too much to overcome? Never fear, you wannabe polyglot: the latest update to the Google Translate Android app adds 12 new languages to conversation mode.
Conversation mode, if you haven’t seen it, is a nifty feature exclusive to the Android version of Google Translate. It takes a user’s voice input, translates it into a different language, plays the translation out loud, and repeats the process in reverse. It sounds a bit cumbersome, but it works reasonably well and provides a (nearly) real-time way to converse with your foreign friends.
Google rolled out a very early version of Conversation Mode back in January, but it only supported translations between English and Spanish. Thanks to today’s update, you can now gab away in French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Dutch Russian, Czech, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Polish.
Oh, and lest I forget, the update also packs a few minor tweaks like the ability to zoom in on bits of translated text — perfect for brushing up on your hiragana.
As useful as conversation mode can be, all of these new languages are firmly in alpha, so don’t expect flawless performance all the time. The updated app is now live in the Android Market, so all the globetrotting chatterboxes in the audience can get cracking.