It makes a lot of sense, but it seems to be hard to realize: Using the cell phone for instant voice translation of basic sentences whenever you’re in a foreign country. But Toshiba is one of the companies working on this, and apparently they’re almost ready to offer a decent solution.
Their translation software, in its current iteration, enables cell phones to interpret between English, Chinese and Japanese. Toshiba says that the database, used on their TG01 “smartphone” (pictured above), for example, boasts a database of 30,000 words spoken in each of these languages. Toshiba optimized existing PC software for use in cell phones, which obviously have less processing power.
All that users need to do is to speak into the phone in any of the three languages, let the handset analyze what you said, translate the sentence and say it out loud in the language desired, using the inflections of a native speaker. The solution doesn’t require users to be online, which is ideal for tourists traveling in foreign countries.
Toshiba says they had exactly this target group in mind when developing the software, claiming it’s able to cover around 70% of simple travel-related conversations. The company aims at offering a practical version of the software within this year.
Via The Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]