Google translator to become the real-life Babel Fish

Alan O'Doherty
July 26, 2013

Google have announced that they are working on technology that would allow seamless, real-time translation during a phone conversation.

The Times reported today that the technology juggernaut claims that while the technology may still be several years away, huge progress has already been made.

Android’s vice president Hugo Barra said Google’s system was “near-perfect for certain language pairs”, specifically mentioning English and Portuguese. However, Barra also acknowledged that Google’s speech recognition software still struggled outside of ideal conditions, such as when there was extensive background noise.

Google’s current text based translation service is able to translate text between 71 languages and receives 1 billion requests per day according to Google.

The research is part of the company’s Google Now project, a series of projects which aim to create technology that can ‘read your mind’; anticipating users needs based on their location and their online history. While these projects certainly have potential, they also raise concerns over privacy and security if Google has access to potentially sensitive information from users.

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