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A layperson’s exploration of all things voice

Category Archives: Translation Use

July 9, 2019

The “Universal Translator” Becomes Reality

I first heard of the concept of a universal translator in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” But the concept predates that in other sci-fi books & movies. Of course, it’s also the vehicle that allowed “Star Trek” to be somewhat believable.

With speech recognition so advanced these days, there are a number of devices available that essentially act as a universal translator. One is iFlytek’s “Voice Language Translator Device.” It’s Chinese-centric and allows for the translation of Chinese into at least 33 languages. Not only does it handle language & dialects, but also have the functionality to convert photos – thereby enabling the translation of signage, menus and even handwritten text. Pretty cool stuff. Here’s an article with more info.

We’ve been spoiled here in the US. You can go almost anywhere in the world and someone will speak English. But there are pockets where that’s not the case. Plus, it’s always better to talk to folks in their native language…