Google Waves Goodbye to Language Barriers

Travelers and tourists longing to communicate better with locals may be in luck very soon. Google's prototype language translator, Conversation Mode, uses Android phones to record spoken words and then play them back in a different language.

Conversation Mode combines the technology of Google Voice and Google Translate (which only works for text) to translate over fifty languages via a speech interface on a smartphone. While similar translation programs exist, most of them are text-based and those that do translate speech-to-speech only work for a limited number of languages. Some of the best competitors can claim around twenty languages, though we can probably expect that number to jump with programs like Conversation Mode coming into play. As the video demonstration below shows, this could change the way people travel. Imagine being able to visit any place in the world and communicate with the locals about topics much more complicated than where the bathroom is. That is, as long as you have enough battery... and a signal.