Google Babel reborn as real-time spoken language translation project

July 26, 2013
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Google Babel was once the codename for Google+ Hangouts. Babel also appeared briefly as a name for a messaging related app for CyanogenMod, but it now looks like we can put those two Babel references aside because the name has returned. This latest brings the Babel name back to Google and this time around it is dealing with language translation.

This setup is being referred to as “universal translators.” Perhaps more interesting here, it was said these translators would built into our phones and that they would be able to provide language translations in real-time. Basically, someone could speak in one language and the other person would hear another language. Before we get super excited and build up any hype, we should also make it clear that this is still very much early days.

The details were revealed when Android VP Hugo Barra recently spoke with The UK Times. Barra mentioned how the project is still in the early phase and that the technology is still years away from being available to the public. So far they have been able to translate select languages with "near perfect" results.

The key to those near perfect results likely have something to do with this still being done in controlled testing situations. And by controlled we mean in rooms where there is little to no background noise. Under these conditions Barra said the real-time translations were "close to 100%."

Otherwise, while we look forward to seeing some of this come available for public use, this is far from the first time Google has done something with language translations. They also have Google Translate which is able to translate text. The text based Google Translate is said to be able to provide results by looking for "patterns in hundreds of millions of documents to help decide on the best." At the time Translate supports 71 languages.

SOURCE: The Times


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