At today’s Commsday Summit Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin revealed their latest cutting edge, soon-to-be-launched new feature, Call Translate, which allow customers to enjoy real-time conversations translated between different languages on their voice calls.

Ms Bayer Rosmarin said that:

“Call Translate breaks through language barriers for customers. In a multi-lingual country like Australia, eliminating challenges caused by speaking in  different languages brings people closer together.”

“Imagine you want your English-speaking child in Sydney to chat easily over the phone with their Italian speaking Nonna in Melbourne, or when English is a second language, consider the ease of simply booking a medical appointment or managing an over-the-phone customer service enquiry.”

Call Translate is powered by Google Cloud translation technology and will initially launch with 10 available languages: Arabic, English, Filipino, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.

You must be an Optus Postpaid mobile customer and have VoLTE provisioned on your service in order to be eligible for the beta trial.

How does it work? Call as normal. Only you need to have Call Translate. Once switched on in My Optus app you can make and receive calls as normal. Both you and the other person on the call will receive a pre-call voice message to say the call will be translated.

Optus Call Translate won’t work if you’re roaming outside of Australia. However as long as the Optus subscriber with Call Translate enabled is in Australia, any call made or received with an overseas number can be translated.
Emergency calls will not be translated and will be connected as normal without Optus Call Translate enabled.

Note that Optus Call Translate is a new service that is launching in beta trial phase. Many factors may affect its accuracy, like background noise, a caller’s accent, the language pair being used, and more.

Optus Call Translate will not be a certified or legal translation and is intended for personal, person to person conversations. It shouldn’t be used in situations where the translation needs to be relied on, such as medical procedures or legal contracts.

Optus says that they only temporarily capture your conversation for the purposes of translation and then that conversation is deleted. They promise never use your conversations for anything other than this purpose and they are never used to train the translation model. See the Optus Privacy Policy for details of how Optus manages any personal information they collect.

Google stores text sent to the APIs for a short period of time to perform the translation, return results, and for debugging in case of service failure, after which it is automatically deleted. For more information see Google Cloud data usage.

Optus will today open an expression of interest for the soon-to-be-launched Call Translate for Optus Postpaid customers who want to trial it.

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    Phill Edwards

    Good development, but I can’t see how it can be used in call centre/customer service scenarios if a pre-call has to be made to both parties.