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A device that translates 40 languages in real time has finally arrived

The innovative technology by Google is said to translate fast enough to hold a conversation

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Google's Pixel Buds were launched on Wednesday in San Francisco. Photo: Google

06 October 2017

Google has caused a stir with the launch of their Google Pixel Buds, which claim to translate 40 languages from direct speech directly into the user's ear.

The innovative device was announced at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday, and connects wirelessly to Google's latest Pixel smartphones.

To access Google Assistance, the user holds down the right ear piece and says, for instance, "Help me speak Greek". From then on when someone speaks to the wearer in Greek, the dialogue will be translated and played back through the earbuds in their native tongue.

Google's claims were demonstrated on stage with an accurate and almost instantaneous translation from Swedish to English, granting the wearers of the earbuds the chance to hold a comfortable conversation.

Sceptics have raised concerns however as to whether the technology will perform as well in the real world, where a number of factors could confuse the device including differing accents, verbal stumbles, and background noise amongst other things.

While other company's have proposed a similar technology in the past, there's no denying Google's advantage in integrating the device directly with the existing Google Translate data and infrastructure.

The Pixel Buds can be used with any device that works with Bluetooth, but to access Google Assistant and the impressive translation functions a Pixel or Android device running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or higher is required.

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