Google Translate for Android is expanding its practically science-fictional Conversation Mode with support for twelve new languages, adding Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Russian and Turkish to the existing English and Spanish support.
Conversation Mode, still only in an alpha release, lets two people speaking different languages talk into the phone or tablet's microphone, with the translation getting played out loud for the other party. The experimental feature was added in an update to Google Translate for Android earlier this year.
It's not quite ready for widespread usage, and the official blog entry says "factors like background noise and regional accents may affect accuracy." But in true Google fashion, the more that people use this early version of Conversation Mode, the more data the Google Translate team is able to collect to improve it.
Other new features in this update include Android tablet optimization, the ability to correct voice-generated input before you put it through the translator, the ability to put translated text in full-screen mode to make it easier to show people (like, say, the stranger giving you directions), and the ability to add unrecognized words to a personal dictionary.
The new version is available on the Android Market app store for devices running version Android 2.2 and above. If that's you, go to, and be sure to let us know how well it works in the comments below.