Monday, February 8, 2010

Google's software to translate as you speak on phone

Internet giant Google, which has also made an entry in the mobile world with its own phone Nexus One, is working on a software which will interpret foreign languages as a person speak. The translation is done almost instantly and Google hopes to have a basic system ready within a couple of years.
Google has already developed an automatic system for translating text on computers, which is being polished by scanning millions of multi-lingual websites and documents. So far it covers 52 languages, adding Haitian Creole last week.

Recently Google also launched a feature where a user can search on the search engine by saying the key words instead of typing. Now it is 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. The phone would analyse "packages" of speech, listening to the speaker until it understands the 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.

Although automatic text translators are now reasonably effective, voice recognition has proved more challenging. "Everyone has a different voice, accent and pitch," said Och. "But recognition should be effective with mobile phones because by nature they are personal to you. The phone should get a feel for your voice from past voice search queries, for example."

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