Google’s New Earbuds Can Translate over 40 Languages

Category : Technology/Innovations

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. on-the-spot / ˈɒn ðəˌspɒt / (adj) – happening right at the moment

    The device allows on-the-spot translations.

  2. set (something) in motion / sɛt ɪnˈmoʊ ʃən / (idiom) – to get something started

    This meeting will set the project in motion.

  3. along the lines of / əˈlɔŋ ðə laɪns ʌv / (idiom) – similar to something

    Your idea is along the lines of what I was thinking.

  4. enabled / ɛnˈeɪ bəld / (adj) – allowing something to happen

    The communication-enabled device allows users to speak with people from other countries.

  5. at (someone’s) disposal / æt dɪˈspoʊ zəl / (idiom) – readily available

    We always have supplies at our disposal.


Read the text below.

Technology giant Google has launched Pixel Buds, a pair of earbuds that can translate different languages.

The Pixel Buds are Bluetooth earbuds that allow on-the-spot language translation on smartphones. The device’s features include two integrated microphones, adjustable loops, and touch and voice commands.

Although the Pixel Buds have only a five-hour battery life, they can be charged using the case, which resembles a power bank.

The Pixel Buds are exclusive to Google’s Pixel smartphones and Android phones. Pixel Buds can translate over 40 languages using Pixel smartphones. However, only English, French, German, Japanese, and Portuguese can be translated on Android phones.

Users can set the translator in motion by pressing and holding the right earbud and saying something along the lines of “Help me speak Japanese.” The Google Assistant program will then translate the sentences in an instant. The translations can both be listened to and read on the phone.

Although Pixel Buds are mainly used to aid users during conversations, they can also be used to translate public announcements.

Google is not the only company that has developed a translation-enabled device. German technology company Bragi has produced a pair of wireless and waterproof earbuds called Dash Pro. It can translate 40 languages through Apple’s iTranslate.

Meanwhile, a group of technology experts developed Travis, a pocket translator device. It can translate 80 languages with Internet access and 20 languages offline. Just by a push of the button, Travis can automatically recognize and translate languages at the user’s disposal.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Would you be interested to purchase Google’s Pixel Buds? Why or why not?
• In your opinion, who will benefit most from the Pixel Buds? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Aside from translation-enabled devices, what other innovations can eliminate language barrier? Give details.
• How can users ensure the accuracy of these innovations (e.g. confirm with a native speaker, etc.)?

Category : Technology/Innovations