Live Translate calls on Galaxy S24: how to use, is it good?

Live Translate calls on Galaxy S24: how to use, is it good?

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Samsung made quite some noise around the new AI features of the Galaxy S24 series — anyone seen the “Samsung AI is here” slogan yet? Sure you have, it’s everywhere!

One of the core features of said Samsung AI is the Live Translate function within calls. Admittedly, a very good concept — if you need to speak over the phone with someone in a foreign language, you just talk as you normally would in your native tongue. The Galaxy AI takes your speech and, using on-device translation only, relays your message via a generated voice.

This early on, we have access to 13 languages to pick from — Chinese (simplified), English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese.

Here, we will go through what you need to do to activate Live Translate. And, since we tested it, we will answer the question — is Samsung AI Live Translate good?

How to activate Live Translate

On our Galaxy S24 Ultra unit, the feature was off by default. If that’s the same for you, you may be a bit confused on how to get to it. Fear not, it’s pretty easy.

Go into Phone → Triple dot menu → Settings

In here, you will find the Live Translate sub-menu. Enter that and make sure that Live Translate is toggled on. Scroll a bit further down, and you will be able to choose default languages.

Now, make your call. Notice that there’s a Call Assist button on the screen. Tapping that will give you access to two AI-assisted features — text to speech (and vice-versa) and Live Translate.

It’s also nice that the call is being transcribed in real time on the screen — if you don’t pick up on something, you can quickly lower the phone from your ear and double-check what was being said.

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Does the Samsung Live Translate work well?

Once you activate the Live Translate, the AI will speak out to the other caller (in their language) that the call is being translated. This may create an awkward pause after their initial “Hello?” — since you have to activate the feature, and it takes a while to load at first.

And it’s not the one and only awkward pause. As much as we wanted to like it, the Samsung Live Translate is quite slow. It takes a good while after you speak out your sentence for it to translate it, structure it, generate the voice, and utter it out.

By default, the callers can still hear the original voice of whoever is speaking, only at a slightly reduced volume. So, at least you will have an idea that the other person has said what they wanted to, and you are just waiting for the translator. You may have noticed that there’s an option to mute the original voices and listen to the AI output only, but at this point — we’d recommend you don’t do that. It’s just very disorienting when you are trying to have a conversation without knowing if the other person has replied yet.

Whichever option you choose, you will still hear the outgoing AI voice translation of whatever you just said, so you’d have an idea of when the translator is done. The same goes for the caller — they will be able to hear the translation that is coming towards your end as it’s happening in real time.

We don’t want to be too rough on the translator — as we said, it’s a great concept that is definitely going to be a core feature of phones in the future. However, in comes the next criticism — it’s not great at the translations. Either that, or it fumbles the bag when generating the voice sentence on the other end — for our limited time of testing, it managed to get words an phrases wrong at least once per call. Not an issue for us, as we were live testing with languages that we know, but we can imagine that you can’t 100% rely on it to call your foreign in-laws.

Bottom line — it’s hit-and-miss, and it’s a bit slow. We applaud Samsung for the effort, but Live Translate during a call feels like it needed a bit more time in the oven.

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