With the world becoming more of a global village, travelling from one country to another or from one continent to the next has become easier than ever. Come to think of it, the world might be a global village. However, linguistic barriers often come in the way, especially in countries where English is not commonly spoken.
Therefore, if your next travel plans are going to be countries like China, Russia, Argentina or Brazil — where English isn’t widely used, you can simply bank on a Google app. Even tourist havens in Europe like the Czech Republic, Spain and Italy have fairly low populations who are fluent in English.
Interacting with people when visiting such locales is, therefore, a challenge. If one is visiting for leisure, it is still easy to get by using sing language and a few major keywords. But when it comes to business transactions, language poses a huge impediment. This is one part of the problem.
On the other, there are also large shares of a country’s population who only speak one language. For example, over 95 percent of the British population are estimated to monolingual English speakers — meaning they only speak one language. Now, much as English has been considered the global language for business, Mandarin Chinese is likely to record the highest number of speakers globally, in the not-too-distant future.
Using technology as a work around
The innovation leader Google always seems to have an offering to make daily lives so much easier. And in terms of overcoming communication barriers too, Google has us covered.
In 2017, along with the Pixel 2’s launch, Google also unveiled its first-generation Pixel Buds. The name sounds similar to its mobile phone model; it does need the phone to operate with. The popular science-fiction The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, with the yellow Babel fish moving into the ear for translations, might have been the possible inspiration for this.
This is when Pixel Buds comes in handy. It is just like any other wireless Bluetooth earphone, that are in vogue these days, with some impressive additional features. One of them is the instant translation of over 40 different languages. Google’s product manager for Pixel buds writes on the company’s blog post that, “It’s like you’ve got your own personal translator with you everywhere you go.”
The Google translate app, on both Android and iOS platforms, gives you the same features if your sole purpose is translation. However, if there is background noise, I have found the app unable to filter out such interference.
With the Pixel buds, however, this problem has been addressed. The wearer needs to tap and hold a finger while speaking on the right earbud. This action helps separate the interaction between the phone and the wearer’s earbuds.
Other companies in the race
Currently, there are similar tools developed by other companies like Skype, Clik, and Waverly Labs, among others. Their products are formidable competitors to the Google Pixel Buds. But so far, Google’s offering is keeping the competition at bay.
Interestingly, Google was not the first company to develop these translating earphones; it was Waverly Labs. The model was named Pilot, and it was capable of translating into English from 15 different languages.
If you are a tech-geek, you must consider this Goggle product. More importantly, Pixel buds can be of immense help if one is a businessperson travelling frequently to new places. It will save you the hassle of hiring a translator or catching on to some hushed conversation that your associates might engage in, in their native tongue. In addition, with a sharp increase in cross-cultural families, their children can also use this amazing tool to learn both parents’ native tongues.