Remember the Interpreter Mode that Google showed off at CES 2019 for facilitating real-time conversions between two people who don’t speak the same language? Well, the feature is finally rolling out to Google Assistant on phones and it’s pretty rad.
Interpreter Mode made its way to Google’s smart assistant devices soon after being announced earlier this year, but hasn’t been provided as a feature for the Assistant on Android and iOS devices. That’s no longer the case. An update is rolling out that will enable your smartphone to bridge the language gap between you and people who speak different languages—up to 44 of them.
And you won’t have to download any apps to gain this functionality since it’s being added directly to the Google Assistant that’s already baked into your Android operating system. Folks on iPhones will have to grab the Google Assistant app for Interpreter Mode, though.
To get started, simply say “Hey Google, be my Spanish translator,” or whatever language you’re trying to communicate in but lack the linguistic skills to do so. The feature can also automatically choose a language based on your location data.
With Interpreter Mode activated, your phone will listen to the conversation and automatically translate the out loud as it occurs. Wired says it’s not quite quick enough to hold a normal conversation but translations still come through in a second or two. The mode also supports a silent mode that relies on keyboard input and reading the phone’s screen in case you’re somewhere quiet.
The only catch here seems to be that your phone needs to be online for Interpreter Mode to work, though Google is reportedly looking into options for enabling offline support. For now, if you need to interpret foreign languages while offline, you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way with the Google Translate app (iOS, Android).