Of all the advancement in travel infrastructure and products, one issue that has remained effectively unsolved for travellers is the barrier to communicate in a foreign land with a different language. The loss in translation can lead to endearing moments perhaps, but is mostly a daunting experience for travellers, that has discouraged many to get down and dirty with the locals.
Possibly, now, this language barrier may once and for all be shattered for travellers with instant voice translation on offer right from your mobile phone! And with Google launching the Google Pixel Buds to provide the hardware to integrate seamlessly with it’s translation software, we believe, this marks the biggest leap in consumer translation technology yet!
What are the Pixel Buds
In the last segment of Google’s recent hardware event, they announced the Pixel Buds, a set of wireless headphones just like Apple’s Air Pods. These buds fit in a multitude of functions that’ll make the experience of using a smartphone even better. Once paired with the phone, you just need to tap on the right earpiece to issue a command to the Google Assistant on the Pixel 2. Play music, place a call, get directions; you can do all this and more without taking your phone out of the pocket. Moreover, there’s one feature that will fundamentally change how we communicate across the globe.
The pixel buds can translate between 40 languages in real-time, literally. A tourist expressing themselves using awkward hand gestures is soon going to be a thing of the past. These buds will let you communicate with a person in a fluid, natural way; almost as if you knew the language. Let’s see how these buds do that.
How it works
Let us assume you’re exploring the small towns in France and you meet a local you would like to talk to. Once you have the buds paired, all you need to do is tap the right earpiece and say, “Help me speak French” and that’s all you need to do to speak fluent French. Now, every sentence you speak in English will come out translated into French from your phone’s speaker, and when the other person replies to you in French, you’ll hear the translated English phrase of it in your ears. It’s like having a personal translator with you, wherever you go.
As seen in the launch of the product, there was virtually zero lag time in between translations. The gadgets that were once only part of science fiction have finally turned into reality.
These buds come with a pocket-sized charging case. Each charge last five hours and the charging case holds multiple charges, taking its battery life up to 24 hours.
The Google translate app is a popular choice among travelers; it has got options to translate text from images & from voice too. Pixel buds have taken this app to the next level and added a more personal and interactive touch to the whole translation experience, making it life-like and easy.
Ofcourse, there are restrictions. The biggest one being that you will need an internet connection and active date to use this service. Also, we understand that the buds use Bluetooth 5.0 to connect to the phone. This means that only the latest Android devices (with N or O versions) can technically be connected to the Buds and at this moment, no iPhones.
Google isn’t the first one to try and solve the age old language barrier. There are some similar products launching soon that’ll give Pixel buds a tough competition.
‘The Pilot’ is a similar earpiece translator, whose project was launched last year; claiming to be a universal translator, it is expected to hit the market by year end. The Pilot currently supports around 10 languages and costs around 60$ more than the Pixel Buds.
We especially like the Travis. Its a dedicated device to provide translations, supports a claimed 80 languages and has AI based translation platforms that take into account past usage and context to translate!
Another promising entry that is expected to launch by the end of this year is the ‘ili’. The ‘ili’ is a handheld bar like translator tool designed specifically for travelers. A great advantage that ‘ili’ has over its competitors is that it doesn’t need Wi-Fi, it can translate in less than a second with no internet connection. ‘ili’ will launch with a support for 4 languages and at a price of around 100$ more than the Pixel buds.
There are several others that have been recently launched and we will have to wait and watch to see which device provides the best solution to customers.
For now, we believe that for most, the Google Pixel Buds provide the most reliable option for live translation. Whether it’s the Pixel buds or any of its worthy competitors, they have altogether opened up the world of communication between people with different languages; giving every traveler a chance to experience the world with no barriers.