Google working on Babel Fish translator phone: one language in, different language out

Google working on Babel Fish translator phone: one language in, different language outBabel Fish is both a Norwegian pop band and – more relevant to this article – a fictitious fish from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that can perform instant translations.

With the latter notion in mind, Google is said to be working on a Babel Fish phone where the caller speaks in one language, and the person at the other end hears another.

That’s the story according to The Times Technology (subscription required), which reveals that Google has grand plans to turn phones into “universal translators”.

"That is where we're headed," croons Hugo Barra, a vice-president of Android. "We've got tons of prototypes of that sort of interaction, and I've played with it every other week to see how much progress we've made."

The aim is to have the Babel Fish phone translation performed almost instantaneously, in the space of just a few seconds.

Of course, translation is nothing new to smartphones. Google Translate, for example, is available on Google Play and the App Store, allowing users to translate both text and speech.

And at the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch, Sammo made a big deal about its S Translator feature, described as “an easy way to quickly translate spoken words or entered text into several languages”.

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JanSt / MOD  Jul. 27, 2013 at 18:08

Not 'appening, mon frere

ipeters50  Jul. 27, 2013 at 20:37

Apparently its so powerful it can even turn what the Lib Dems say into common sense effective legislation....

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 27, 2013 at 23:02

Impossible, ipeters50! :D

an1  Jul. 28, 2013 at 02:13

Just like the Universal Translator in Star Trek?!

IndianaBlues  Jul. 29, 2013 at 17:32

Just like the Universal Translator in Star Trek?!

Well, Google DO have past history with translating Klingon...but the Star Trek universal translator works with as yet unknown languages, I imagine this one will have to be pre-programmed by Google rather than learning and translating on the fly...;)

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 29, 2013 at 17:40

given how well Google translates web pages - texts written in fairly formal language, does anyone actually believe they or Apple or anyone else will crack spoken language? Idiomatic idiosyncratic elyptical stuff that we say all the time? I studied linguistics in the 80s. The AI dept thought back then they were oh so close LOL

It'll work if they make us talk like Turing rejects.


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