How things have advanced in the translation world. Are you an avid user of Google Translate on your mobile? I am, and I find it especially useful in the clinic where I see patients who speak in languages other than those I am comfortable in. While the audio recognition of various languages still has considerable room for improvement, I marvel at the text translate features whereby you snap a picture and you can highlight text in the image and the app will recognise the text and translate it for you (currently only in the Android version, not iOS). Patients sometimes hand me a lab report in a language I can’t read and this is where this will come in very handy.
I wait for the day when translation is in realtime. This cool translation demo of a real time translation using Microsoft technology (via the Verge) brings us a step closer to the fabled Star Trek Universal Translator!
Rick Rashid has a lot on his plate. As the chief research officer at Microsoft Research, the division he founded in 1991, Rashid is charged with overseeing some of Microsoft’s most daring and diverse projects. His vast network of researchers pioneered the motion-sensing technology behind the Kinect, and have since explored everything from augmented reality to wearable technologies. They’re even working on an interactive contact lens display that would be powered by a user’s body heat.
But the company’s most groundbreaking project may be one of its least flashy. Late last year, Rashid demonstrated a new technology that combines speech recognition with voice translation, converting a speaker’s words into a different language in real time. During the demonstration, held at an event in China, Microsoft’s software transcribed Rashid’s words into Mandarin script almost instantly, before voicing them a few seconds later — in his own voice.