Google Translate's Conversation Mode Andorid app. can now translate speech back and forth in 14 languages.

Conversation Mode , which translates speech back and forth automatically in Android phones, originally started with only two languages-- English and Spanish-- when it launched in January 2010. Now, however, the Google Translate app. will prove far more useful as a traveling companion, with French, German, Russian, Turkish, Polish, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Brazilian, Portuguese, Dutch, and Czech added to the program.

You can download the 14-language Google Translate app. from the Android Market if your phone or tablet runs at least Android 2.2.

Jeff Chin, project manager at Google Translate, says the product is still somewhat of a work in progress. [Google Translate] is still alpha, he wrote in a recent blog posting, so factors like background noise and regional accents may affect accuracy.

But Google added features to eliminate as many problems as it can while the application is perfected. One feature lets users hear what Conversation Mode heard before it translates it. If someone is asking Where is the train? for example, you'll know if the Google app. heard Where is the rain? and correct it if needed. You also get written as well as spoken translation results.

Google has also optimized the 14-language app. for larger screens. We wanted to get this early version out, Chin said, to help start the conversation no matter where you are in the world.

Google Translate's regular Android app. still translates some 63 languages, including voice input readings in 17 languages and text-to-speech options for 2 of them.

Google Translate's Conversation Mode upgrade comes at a time when instant translation is more and more in demand. A New York translation tech venture called Smartling has just released a host of new features and services, according to Fast Company. Smartling helps users translate digital content like web sites and mobile into multiple languages for low prices.

Smartling's speciality is in content localization, ways to translate text that may be encoded or need rewrites. Jack Welde, Smartling's CEO, says the biggest challenges come with systems back by U.S. Venture Partners, Venrock, First Round Capital, and IDG Ventures. Using a team comprised of professionals, volunteers, and some forms of artificial intelligence, Smartling has been going for two years, and is rapidy expanding.

Google Translate is on the right track by sticking with more casual, immediate translation. Its main competitor is likely AIT Projetex, a Windows download. Advanced International Translations supplies translation management software for freelancers and translation agencies around the world, and released Projetex in 2010.

Below, a Google Translate Instruction Video for Conversation Mode: