Google Translate Voice App Goes Full-On Desi

Namaste! This may come as a shocker to you, but according to the Indian news organization Firstpost, the Google Translate voice app now accepts user voice input from the top Desi languages, including Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu, reports. What does this mean? Let’s cover some basics first!

What Is Google Translate?

Google Translate is a smartphone application that can translate text and voice from one language to another. For instance, if you programmed the app to translate to English and uttered the French word ‘bonjour’, it would output the following: ‘hello’.

When Google Translate first dropped for the Android and iOS operating systems in 2010 and 2011, respectively, its voice capabilities could only handle 15 languages. This has obviously changed during the past few years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is Google Translate’s poor compatibility with Desi culture.

Why Was Google Translate Not Compatible With Desi Culture?

First and foremost, Desi is a term that refers to the people and culture of South Asia. Think Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, etc. The problem is that the Google Translate app’s voice features only catered to the Hindi language. While Hindi is the official language for the country of India, the truth remains that the South Asian region of the world is littered with hundreds of sub languages and dialects.

This unfortunate discrepancy made it a royal pain for Western and European travelers to properly communicate (via voice) with the natives of this highly complex region of the world. As of June 5, 2014, however, they are now in luck!

What Changed With The App?

Version 3.0.6 of the Google Translate app now offers voice support for seven more Desi languages. This means you can speak Punjabi, Marathi, Tamil, etc., to the app. Furthermore, the new version also adds support for phonetic input, reports the Android Authority. What does this mean? It’s a bit more confusing.

Take the word ‘namaste’. It’s actually spelled like this: ‘??????’. Confusing, yes? However, it’s pronounced nah-mah-stay, which is why we Americans spell it as ‘namaste’. Here’s the kicker: as of version 3.0.6, you can literally get away with typing its phonetic version into Google Translate. Just type ‘namaste’ and the app will output its correct format: ‘??????’. Also useful for travelers!

Does It Actually Work?

According to the folks over at the India Business & Technology Buzz, this new version of the Google Translate voice app is extraordinarily buggy. Now just imagine if the folks over at Google tried to incorporate the hundreds of other South Asian languages (Telugu, Urdu, Malayalam, Oriya, Sindhi, Nepali, Assamese, etc.) into their app!

Image via [Google Images]

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