Google's in-ear translator

Science fiction fans may be dancing in their spandex space costumes, but the real winners here are travellers to foreign countries, with Google’s Pixel Buds proving that in-ear, real-time translation is now science fact.

No longer will you feel like an alien in another land. No longer will you have to pee in the bushes because you couldn’t understand that nice little lady on the corner who was trying to tell you where the toilet was. Foreign languages will soon be obsolete. That’s how cool Google’s new Bluetooth Pixel Buds could be.

Designed to pair with the Google Pixel phone, Google’s ‘buds’ are not just a cute pair of headphones, they also offer a real-time translation feature that’s basically like having a multilingual Jiminy Cricket in your ear.

Simply touch the right ear bud to activate Google Assistant and say, “Google, help me speak Japanese”.

Then speak into the phone in English and your phone app will transcribe the sentence in Japanese and say it out loud for you to speak or play to the listener. Your interlocutor can also speak Japanese (or up to 40 other languages – but most likely not Klingon) into the phone and have it translated into English (or up to 40 other languages).

You can also take photos of signs and say, food menus, and have them transcribed for you. Same goes for transcribing speech to text for your foreign reader. Like I said: so cool!

You can pick up a pair of these for under $250, but you’ll need the Pixel phone for them to work. Might be time to switch from your old iPhone?

How handy would these be for you? Would a pair of these Pixel Buds mean you might travel more often to non-English speaking countries?

Related articles:
Microsoft reveals universal translator
Getting around language barriers
World’s first translating earpiece

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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