What are translator headphones and how do they work?

headphones with translation

It can be read that technological development, driven by Artificial Intelligence, will end up making it unnecessary for human beings to learn languages. That may become a reality one day, but it seems that day is still far away. However, we already have among us a small preview of this: the translator headphones. In this post we are going to see what exactly they are and how they work.

At first, it seems like a tool that should be included in the list of practical gadgets for those people who are always traveling, jumping from one country to another and constantly changing languages. With the advantages of comfort and immediacy. The big question is: Do these devices work well? How reliable are your translations?

How do they work?

The “miracle” of instant translation is made possible by truly amazing technology. The design of the translator headphones consists of a microphone whose mission is to collect conversations and software (installed on the device itself or on a mobile phone to which it is connected) to carry out the translation work.

translator headphones

This is where the neural network technologies, Deep Learning, speech recognition and automatic translation and others with which it is possible to translate the content of any conversation into almost any language in real time.

The process, explained in a very simplified way, works like this:

  1. Firstly, The microphone built into the headphones picks up sound through a voice recognition system.
  2. Afterwards, a audio processor encodes sounds into digital signals.
  3. In the next step is a AI engine the one who interprets the content and meaning of words to transmit them to a translation program.
  4. Finally, this program sends the translated conversation to the speaker of the headphones.

This entire process is executed at full speed, in a matter of seconds. Speed ​​is a great advantage to value, as is its ease of use and comfort. Although nothing is as important as the reliability of the results.

How is the translation quality of the translator headphones?

Although we could say that we are still in an initial phase, in which the first steps are being taken in a new technology, everything seems to indicate that very good results are being achieved. These programs have been created and trained specifically on powerful computers to perform a single task. Details need to be polished, obviously, but the truth is that They provide a more than acceptable translation quality.

headphones translation iomas

However, it is not a perfect technology that is free of possible errors. As with any other translation software, It is impossible for all translations to be one hundred percent accurate. It must be said that this is partly because conversations between humans are full of nuances (double meanings, homophonies, sarcasm, slang, etc.) that often represent an obstacle in normal conversations. Despite this, the translation will be reliable in the vast majority of conversations.

Depending on each manufacturer, the list of languages ​​that we are going to have access to through our translator headphones It will be more or less long. However, the most spoken and most important languages ​​in the world are there: English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Japanese, German, Arabic, Portuguese, Hindi, Russian... The list of languages ​​is increasingly complete and covers more and more possibilities. .

Some models of translator headphones

Anyone who wants to test the effectiveness of these devices can now do so, as there are several models for sale. Almost all of them are characterized by still having a fairly high price and a fairly good autonomy (around eight hours). There are, of course, small differences that can make us opt for one brand or another. These are the ones we have chosen:

Google Pixel Buds A-Series

First, the most economical option: the Google Pixel Buds A-Series They are distinguished by being very clear-sounding headphones, especially thanks to the custom-designed 12mm dynamic speaker drivers. It has an adaptive sound function with which to adjust the volume to our environment, as well as microphones with beam-forming technology, specially designed to faithfully collect the sound of the human voice.

In the section at hand, that of instant translation, what these headphones offer is the option to communicate with the Google voice assistant, which is the one that will help us carry out the translations through its specific application. That is, they are not translator headphones in the strict sense.

For the rest, they have a battery that supports up to 5 hours of playback or 2,5 hours of talk time, three different sizes of ear pads and a stabilizing arc.

Timekettle WT2 Edge

In this case we can talk about real translator headphones, although this is logically reflected in their higher price. The translator device Timekettle WT2 Edge It offers us a true two-way simultaneous translation that works almost instantly (just 0,5 seconds of response), which allows for fluid conversations.

The quality of the translations is guaranteed by the large and recognized translation engines that we all know (DeepL, Google, Microsoft...) that the Timekettle software combines to create its results. It has different modes of use, including the possibility of chat in real time with other users. You can handle 40 languages ​​and 93 different accents (truly impressive numbers), with the option to translate into 8 languages ​​offline.

Its design is simple and ergonomic, with an autonomy of 3 hours of uninterrupted translation on a single charge. One of the best currently on the market.


Should we say goodbye to dictionaries, interpreters and language schools? It is likely that in the future we will see simultaneous translation headsets replacing human translators, although it seems that there is still a long time left for that. At the moment, this technology only works for simple conversations, but it is undoubtedly a first step towards more important goals.

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