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RetroArch brings real-time translation to emulated games

September 9, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon

September 9, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon
More: Console/PC, Video

The team behind the emulator frontend RetroArch has rolled out a feature translates emulated games on the fly, either as spoken words or text written out directly on screen.

The feature went live a few weeks back and is on par with (and powered by) Google Translate. As such, the translations it offers are far from 100 percent accurate but it still makes for an interesting use of tech with a slew of potential applications.

As outlined on RetroArch’s corner of the LibRetro website, the whole endeavor started with a bounty requesting that Optical Character Recognition and Text to Speech services be developed for the open-source tool. Brought to life, that bounty is now a Google Cloud Platform-powered translation feature baked right into RetroArch that, with some set up, can translate text displayed in-game in near-real-time.

The feature has two flavors: a live “speech mode” translation that reads written text out loud in a chosen language without pausing the game or an “image mode” that pauses gameplay and displays a capture of the screen with the text translated and replaced to a different language. In both cases, translation happens after pressing whichever key has been assigned as the AI Service button.  

An example of both modes in action can be seen in the video above, while full details on the project itself can be found on the RetroArch site.  

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