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Here's How to Translate Languages With Google's Pixel Buds
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Here's How to Translate Languages With Google's Pixel Buds

Patrick Lucas Austin, Gawker Media

Image credit: Google

Google's Pixel Buds are the company's first attempt to make a pair of Bluetooth earbuds. They aren't perfect, as a slew of reviews have noted, but they do pack a few cool tricks inside their tiny frame. The most tantalizing feature? They can use Google Translate to output your speech into one of 40 different languages. But buying the fancy earbuds alone isn't enough to make you an international diplomat. You'll need the right phone, app, and language as well.

Sorry, Pixel Owners Only

Just because you went out and spent $159 on Google's Pixel Buds doesn't mean you'll have access to its translation feature. You'll need to pair those earbuds with the right smartphone. That smartphone happens to be Google's Pixel series of devices. Real-time translation is supported only by the Pixel and Pixel 2 line of Android devices, and also requires that you have Google Translate installed on your phone.

How to Enable Translation

You'll need to make sure a few apps are installed before you start translating. Ensure you're running the latest version of Google Assistant, and download Google Translate from the Google Play Store.

When you're ready to translate, pop your Pixel Buds in your ears, double-tap them to connect to your Pixel or Pixel 2 smartphone, and hold your finger on the right earbud. Then, say "OK, Google, help me speak Japanese," or whichever of the 40 languages you'd like to translate. This will open Google Translate on your phone.

On the screen you'll see one blue button and one purple one. State your phrase, then remove your finger from the earbud. Your Pixel smartphone will restate your phrase in the language of your choice using its speakers. At this point, it's your conversation partner's turn to translate their own words into a language you can understand. Hold the purple button (or have your partner hold it) and let the foreign language fly. Release the button to hear the translated dialogue through your earbuds.

You'll see both your phrase in English and the translated language, so you can refer to the transcription to see what went wrong. In my testing with Russian, Spanish, and French, the translations were surprisingly accurate, and worked more often than not. Google's Pixel Buds might not be the greatest pair of earbuds on the market, but they sure are a useful tool for traveling abroad.

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