Laura Foy

TechFest 2010: The Translating Telephone

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Soon the language barrier will no longer be an issue. This piece of technology allows two users, speaking different languages, to communicate instantly. The speakers audio is turned into text, then that text is translated into another language and spoken aloud to the other party in the conversation. This could truly change the world.

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    The Discussion

    • Richard.Hein

      Great stuff, but it has to be almost perfect, otherwise ... well, dependency on an unreliable system could result in serious mistakes, and face it, everyone would try to use it (eventually) instead of really learning another language, because it's easier.  That kinda scares me.  Keep working on it. Smiley

    • Banjobeni

      In contrast, I think this might greatly improve the way we learn languages. Speak a phrase, have it transated, spoken and written on the screan. That way, you can hear and read the phrase in the foreign language.

       

      And on a side note: It's great to see that the first "foreign" language is German!

    • rhm

      Been hearing about systems like this for 15-20 years. It seems obvious - marry speech recognition with natural language translation and speech synthesis and you've got your universal translator. Except that nobody has demonstrated phone-based speech recognition that's accurate enough without training, natural langugae translations are notoriously laughable and even speech synthesis is much harder than it appears. The limitations in any of these three stages are tollerable in isolation, but in series it would be unuseable.

    • Chris​Stepaniuk

      Yea, or if you know how to spell something in a different language, have this pronounce this back to you correctly.  I'd love to have this type of service help people learn a language with a teacher or interpreter.  I think the possibilities are endless for applications.  Even if you are in a foreign country, get out your phone, record the person and have it repeat the phrase back to you, it would make paper dictionaries mute.

    • Richard.Hein

      That would definitely be useful. Smiley

    • petersan

      Yup it does look very nice. Smiley

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