Google takes on the language barrier

New phone technology will translate foreign languages instantly

The famed Babel Fish of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is coming soon—Google plans to release a phone within the next couple of years that instantly translates spoken words into another language. In combining two existing technologies—voice recognition and automatic translation—Google aims to produce a software capable of comprehending a caller’s voice and translating it into a synthetic equivalent in a different language. The phone would behave like a professional human interpreter, analysing “packages” of speech and listening until it understands the full meaning of words and phrases. “We think speech-to-speech translation should be possible and work reasonably well in a few years’ time,” said Franz Och, Google’s head of translation services.

Times Online

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