Google Translator Phone for 'speech-to-speech translation'

Google is developing software for the first phone capable of translating foreign languages almost instantly like Babel Fish in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. By building on existing technologies in voice recognition and automatic translation, Google hopes to have a basic system ready within a couple of years. If it works, it could eventually […]

Google is developing software for the first phone capable of translating foreign languages almost instantly like Babel Fish in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. By building on existing technologies in voice recognition and automatic translation, Google hopes to have a basic system ready within a couple of years. If it works, it could eventually transform communication among speakers of the world’s 6,000-plus languages. Google has already created an automatic system for translating text on computers, and also has a voice recognition system that enables phone users to conduct web searches by speaking commands into their phones rather than typing them in. Now it’s working on combining the two technologies to produce software capable of understanding a caller’s voice and translating it into a synthetic equivalent in a foreign language. Like a professional human interpreter, phone would analyse “packages” of speech, listening to speaker until it understands full meaning of words and phrases, before attempting translation. “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.