At the start of the Sogou Partner Conference in Beijing, the audience heard a recording that sounded like American President Donald Trump congratulating Sogou on the recent IPO and how this was a step forward for American-Chinese relations. We were wondering if President Trump had started watching CCTV instead of Fox News until we realized that the recording was synthesized. Well played, Sogou.

The playful recording signaled the search company’s high spirits, who had a successful IPO at the New York Stock Exchange in November 2017. CEO Wang Xiaochuan announced two new products in his keynote for the conference: the Sogou Travel Translator and the Sogou Smart Translation Recorder. Targeting Chinese globetrotters, the Travel Translator offers real-time speech and image translation for 17 languages, including Chinese, English, German and Arabic. While the Translation Recorder offers instant speech to text function and translation of the recorded text for 17 languages.

“We think the translator is a cut above the rest in the market,” said Wang Xiaochuan when asked about how the new products compare to the translation offered by competitors during an interview after the conference. This is a bold claim, considering others in the market include the Google Pixel Buds and Chinese voice recognition company iFlytek’s range of translation hardware and software.

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Linda Lew

Linda Lew is a Beijing-based journalist who covers technology, start-ups and business in China. You can reach her at lindalew at aliyun dot com.