Google Translate has released an updated version of its Android app to bring in voice input support for eight Indian languages including Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu.
This feature is expected to allow users speak into the app and hear the translation in the chosen language. For instance, if you speak into the app in English and have chosen Hindi as the output language, you will be able to hear the translated phrase in Hindi.
Issues: When we checked, we noticed that the app doesn’t support speech input for Indic languages yet. (We tried it on Nexus 4 running on Android 4.4.2).
However, it does offer support for Indic voice output for Hindi language i.e. you can speak in English and hear back the translation in Hindi. Although, it seems to be limited to Hindi only right now, since it doesn’t work for other Indic languages (We tried Kannada, Gujarati and Punjabi). We have written to Google for a clarification and will update once we hear back.
Other Indic Initiatives from Google
Earlier in March this year, Google had introduced handwriting input mode for five Indian languages – Gujarati, Kannada, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu on the web and its Android app. This was a month after adding handwriting support for Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi and Telugu on its Google Translate iOS app. The company also added Kannada and Tamil handwriting support to its iOS app a month later.
In December 2013, Google Translate had added support for Punjabi language as part of nine new languages which includes Nepali, Mongolian, Maori and African languages Somali, Zulu and others.
Google Translate had also added support for Marathi language on the web and Android in May 2013 and extended it to iOS in September 2013. It had released offline language packages to Google Translate’s Android app with support for fifty languages including Hindi in March 2013.
Besides this, Google had introduced support for six Indic languages on Gmail on feature phone browsers in March 2013 and released a text input app called Google Hindi Input, which allows users to type in Hindi on their Android phones. The company had rolled out system wide support for Hindi on Android through the 4.3 ‘Jelly Bean’ update in August 2013.