Being lost in translation might soon be a problem of the past, as tech companies are starting to work on a much needed app niche- better, real time voice and text translation tools. According to a new report, Google Translate will not only translate texts in real time but also speech. Google intends to work on launching such a tool as soon as possible to catch up with Microsoft’s similar app. The tech company’s pursuit might have even been driven by the recent launch of Skype Translator, a Microsoft application that can translate to and from English and Spanish in real time.
While Microsoft’s app can only be used by Skype users, Google’s is probably going to be used by a significantly larger number of people worldwide and it will be more adaptable. Skype Translator is only accessible by several thousand users but when Google rolls out the Translate update it will come as a free upgrade to the Android app, reaching thus hundreds of millions of subscribers.
Also, Skype translator is restricted to English and Spanish and will probably introduce Russian and Chinese translations as well. Even though it is not known how many languages Google Translate will endorse, it is safe to assume that there will be more than two for such a wide take off.
But who exactly will the new app work? Google’s Translate tool will record in real time what a speaker is saying and then automatically turn the oral speech into written content.
Additionally, Google plans to roll out an app that can be very useful for tourists and travelers. This upcoming application will translate foreign street signs automatically. All users have to do is place their phones’ camera on the street name and the app will show the translation on screen.
The New York Times reports that with in excess of 100 million individuals going for Google’s Translate application, the new feature could be used by a potential 500 million month to month users.
With supposedly 80-90% of the world’s web content written in about 10 languages, removing language barriers would be a defining moment for communications technology.
However, taking into account that the current version of Google translate has still a lot of accuracy challenges when working with written content, users should not expect a perfect translation. On the contrary, spoken languages might prove more difficult to translate, because of different pronunciations. This would be another issue, added to the existing ones related to grammar and syntax.
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