Real-Time Machine Translation now One Step Closer
Certainly a holy grail of many in the computer industry is that of real-time machine translation. While there are all sorts of translation engines out there, they generally fail at translating anything but simple phrases accurately.
Google has been a player in the computer translation market for a while now and while I would like to say they have made a translation breakthrough that would be pushing it. What they have done is create translate bots that allow instant translation of phrases via a chat window. The translation is done with their current translation engine.
At the moment the bot chats are with yourself, meaning you enter a phrase in one language and it appears in yet another.
In the future we can expect to be able to e-mail and chat with anyone in our native tongue and have the content translated to our intended audience.
Google’s translation bot shows us a baby step in this direction as one imagines soon the translation layer will site between disparate parties allowing users to communicate in real time using various languages.
If you want to try this bot for yourself just add firstname.lastname@example.org to your Google Chat list where xx and yy represent the “from” and “to” language. Examples include en for English, es for Spanish, yi for Yiddish, cy for Welsh, etc. Here is a page with the full list of 2-letter language abbreviations.
The accuracy still leaves a lot to be desired as you can see from the included example which is supposed to be translating from English to Castilian Spanish. Still, this bot can come in handy in basic situations and could be called upon as a rudimentary solution which will hopefully evolve over time.
I for one am looking forward to seeing this bot interface with VoIP through speech recognition and then back again with text to speech technology.
Mashable: Google Talk Now Translates Your Chats
TechCrunch: Google Talk Gets One Step Closer To The Ultimate Babel Fish
Update: for the latest news and analysis in the chat translation space be sure to check out TMCnet’s newest chat translation online community.