Do you want to listen to many languages on shortwave? Here is how to do SDRplay Speech Translation.
In late September, I posted a You Tube video on how to do SWBC language translation with your SDRplay receiver. Jon Hudson promoted the video on his SDRplay blog, generating a lot of interest. My video is a complete “how to” featuring connecting audio to an Android Emulator and the Microsoft Translate app. Check it out.
Rather than repeat the video instructions, I will focus this article on answers to the many questions I have received about the technique.
Why are you using an Android Emulator on your Windows 10 PC? Why not just hold your phone up to the speaker? Why not use a patch cord to route PC audio into your phone? All good questions. First, I found that the native Android translation apps work better than the web based on Microsoft Store apps. Second, I did try holding the phone up to the speaker, but with mixed results on the audio quality.
Also, I considered making a patch cord. The challenge was matching the TRS (tip-ring-sleeve) connections from the PC audio output to the TRRS (tip-ring-ring-sleeve) arrangements on the phone. You will find there are mixed standards for TRRS signal routing. Also, you sometimes need a blocking capacitor for the microphone. If you want to go this route, there are adapters and circuits you can try.
Why did you choose BlueStacks 5 emulator? Once I decided an Android emulator would be the best approach, I checked out a few of these and found BlueStacks 5 worked well. Regardless of your choice, make sure of two things. First, you need to be able to route audio as a pseudo-microphone input. Second, your emulator must include the Play Store for downloading apps directly.
SDRplay Speech Translation with Microsoft Translate
After some experimenting, I found that the Android Microsoft Translate app worked best for my use case. Especially useful is the Auto mode, which presently enables continuous audio capture and translation with both voice and text.
Yes, this all started as some out of the box thinking to create a universal translator for shortwave radio. Give it a try. Should work with many languages, and ham radio broadcasts, as well.
Your results will be far from perfect, but a big step forward if you don’t speak the language of interest.