Google is marrying its Map and Translate services to help users get around more easily in a foreign country.
Google Maps product manager Laszlo de Brissac says a new translator feature is being added to Google Maps that enables a smartphone to speak out a place's name and address in the local language.
“When you're in a foreign country where you don't speak or read the language, getting around can still be difficult – especially when you need to speak with someone. Think about that anxiety-inducing time you tried to talk to a taxi driver, or that moment you tried to casually ask a passerby for directions, ” he said on Google’s Blog.
To use this feature, tap the speaker button next to the place's name or address and Google Maps will say it out loud.
If users need to have a more in depth conversation, Google Maps will quickly link them to the Google Translate app.
Its text-to-speech technology automatically detects what language the user’s phone is set to, and based on the location, it will determine what users might need help with translating.
Brissac gave an example of a phone set to English when the user is looking at a place of interest in Tokyo.
After Googling for the National Art Centre, a speaker icon appeared next to the place’s name and address which will provide a real-time translation and help read that information out.
The new feature will be rolled out this month on both Android and iOS, starting with support for 50 languages, plus more on the way.
It is not confirmed if Google will continue to butcher the pronunciation of names as it often does to local Malaysian locations.