Samsung’s next Galaxy Buds might offer real-time translation using AI – wunderbar!

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro on white background
(Image credit: TechRadar)

As a pathetic Brit who's tried in vain to learn a second language, I want nothing more than multilingual superpowers – and if Samsung’s next Galaxy Buds can help, well… très bien!

According to a report in the Maeil Business Newspaper, it seems my wish could soon be granted. The missive states that next-gen Samsung Galaxy Buds able to "provide real-time interpretation through artificial intelligence (AI) when meeting and conversing with foreigners will be released as early as the second half of next year".

A recent leak regarding the South Korean tech giant's incoming Galaxy S24 smartphone lineup suggests more AI is coming to Samsung devices – so it doesn't take a genius to work out that if Samsung wants to put AI in our hands, the firm also wants to put it in our ears.

Imagine the scene: you land in Haneda airport, Tokyo. You're trying to give off smart businessperson vibes (rather than complete newbie tourist), so taking out your phone and firing up Google Translate is a no. With the purported on-device AI in Samsung's buds, you wouldn't even need to have an internet connection for the earbuds to process what your taxi driver, colleague, or server is saying, translate it in real-time, and relay it discreetly to your shell-likes. 

Analysis: Samsung won't be the first, but it can still be the best

It's not the first time we've seen this kind of thing – Google’s Pixel Buds have boasted the ability to translate languages on the fly using your Pixel phone since 2017 (using the then-freshly baked Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL). The thing is, despite a slew of recent updates to the Google Pixel Buds Pro, Google's Buds have never quite made it onto our best wireless earbuds list. There's one key reason for this, as you can read about in my Google Pixel Buds Pro review.

Samsung's Galaxy Buds Pro 2 are different though. Those August 2022-issue Buds are good.  If I can have that sound quality and feature set with added fluency in Japanese (at least the understanding part) Samsung can count on me being first in line to buy a pair when they hit shelves. 

Somewhat surprisingly, Samsung didn’t unveil an update to its flagship Galaxy Buds this year (or for that matter the hotly anticipated Samsung Galaxy Buds 3), with a November 16 leak claiming we'll get the Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 Pro in 2024 instead. 

The company did introduce an all-new affordable Galaxy Buds FE proposition, but even a quick scan of our Samsung Galaxy Buds FE review reveals they're not about to win any awards. 

Again Samsung, if you're reading this, the Buds 2 Pro were fantastic bijou buds and emphatically some of the best noise-cancelling earbuds of last year. That, but with added on-ear translation skills? Take my money… 

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Becky Scarrott
Senior Audio Staff Writer

Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.