In a major boost for travellers who often have to deal with linguistic barriers while exploring unfamiliar destinations, Google has announced it is working on a smartphone software technology that can translate several foreign languages with great accuracy.
The search company asserted that the new device would have the capability to almost instantly convert speech into another foreign language.
This new breakthrough technology from the search giant would reportedly eliminate the accent and pitch problems that have hitherto plagued all the existing translation services introduced till date.
While early iterations of the Google’s translation services have been somewhat incomprehensible at times, the company’s ever-soaring database of languages has in fact paved the way for high degree of accuracy in translation tools.
As of now, Google’s database incorporates as many as 52 of the estimated 6,000 languages known across the globe, with most recent addition to the list being Haitian Creole.
However, Google admitted that translating speech would be a tougher job, but asserted that the smartphone would adjust by learning the user’s speaking style.
Divulging details about the company’s initiative, Franz Och, Google’s chief of translation services, said: “We think speech-to-speech translation should be possible and work reasonably well in a few years' time. Clearly, for it to work smoothly, you need a combination of high-accuracy machine translation and high-accuracy voice recognition, and that's what we're working on”.
Interesting application but as with all text to speech tools, it is likely to be a long time before seamless and near perfect accuracy are achieved. Part of the problem lies in the bewildering array of accents as well as platforms on which the application will be used.