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Google Translate Will Update with Live Voice-to-Text

Google wants to be the one to help you avoid getting lost in translation. The company will soon announce an update to its Translate app for smartphones that includes live voice-to-text translation feature. The announcement comes on the heels of Microsoft's Skype Translator services release.

According to a report by the New York Times, the new Google feature will let users speak in any popular language and the app will recognize it and automatically turn it into text on your smartphone. It's unclear which languages constitute "popular" by Google's terms, but currently the app can recognize text input of 90 languages.

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Microsoft's service is limited to English and Spanish speakers. Google already has translation features that Skype cannot offer, such as Chrome's ability to translate full Web pages and the setting that lets you change your Gmail language to fake ones like Pirate and Klingon.

While the New York Times reports the update will be out soon, no official release date is known. However, more features like this are likely to follow as Google continues to catch up to Skype and position itself as a leader in online translation. In the future, Google wants users to be able to hold their smartphones up to a foreign language street sign and have a translation appear automatically on the screen.

Valentina Palladino is a senior writer for Tom's Guide. Follow her at @valentinalucia. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide and on Facebook.

Valentina Palladino

Valentina is Commerce Editor at Engadget and has covered consumer electronics for a number of publications including Tom's Guide, Wired, Laptop Mag and Ars Technica, with a particular focus on wearables, PCs and other mobile tech.