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Google Meet could break down language barriers thanks to new live translation captions

Computer and smartphone showing Google Meet app logo
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google Meet now offers a live translated captions feature. This enables the video-chat platform to translate foreign languages in real-time, which could make international calls and business meetings much easier. 

The beta feature was announced this week via a Google Workspace Update and is currently only available to select Google Meet users. Although, like most new beta features it’s expected that once it’s been thoroughly tested it will be rolled out to all. However, Google hasn’t announced when the feature will leave beta just yet.  

Live translated captions turn spoken Spanish, French, Portuguese, and German into fully translated English subtitles in real-time during a Google Meet. Currently, the feature is only able to translate into English from the four languages listed above, although Google may expand these capabilities further down the line.

Google Meet live translated captions demo

(Image credit: Google)

This is a pretty significant upgrade from Google Meet’s pre-existing live captions feature. The platform has been able to turn spoken word into captions for quite a while now, but translating foreign languages is a very welcome expansion of the functionality. 

Google explained that the live translated captions allow “Google Meet video calls to be more global, inclusive and effective by removing language ability as a barrier to collaboration. 

"By helping users consume the content in a preferred language, you can help equalize information sharing, learning, and collaboration, and make sure your meetings are as effective as possible.” 

The tech giant also pointed out that live translated captions could be extremely useful in an educational setting. The feature has the potential to allow teachers to communicate with a wider variety of students who may not speak the same language, as well as increase inclusivity among parents from diverse backgrounds. 

In its beta form, the feature is only available for meetings organized by Google Workspace Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Plus and Teaching & Learning Upgrade users. If you meet the criteria, you apply for access to the feature right now.  

Rory is a staff writer at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics including tech news, deals, gaming, streaming and more. When he’s not writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found watching a borderline unhealthy amount of movies and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.