Google Translate Goes Star Trek

By  |  Monday, January 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Those of us who are Trekkers will remember that all the aliens spoke English. Well, not quite: some used a device known as the Universal Translator. This would listen for the speaker’s words and translate them on the fly for the listener and vice versa.

You knew it was only a matter of time before real life caught up with Star Trek. Enter Google’s latest update for its Translator app which allows for something called “Conversation Mode.” While it won’t translate Klingon just yet, it does Spanish in its initial relase — a far cry from the 53 languages that the text translation service currently supports.

Is it perfect? Not quite, as this video showing a prototype of the software (from last year) demonstrates:

Other considerations are rapid speech and regional dialects, which the software still seems to struggle with. “Even with these caveats, we’re excited about the future promise of this technology to be able to help people connect across languages,” product manager Awaneesh Verma said. Regardless, doing something that up until now was science fiction is certainly cool.

The application is available now through the Android Market and requires a device running Android 2.1 or newer.


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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Ken Says: would have…worked…better…if he talked…like…Captain Kirk!

  2. Ed Oswald Says:

    Comment of the year!! Love it! hah!

  3. dholyer Says:

    I've seen devices like this for hand held translator pads, and a few lets you do voice input but most you need a keyboard. The big problem with typing is to have now how to spell.

    The hand held translator is 60's ideas, In Undiscovered Country (the last TOS based film with Kirk and the gang) the hand held device was no longer needed because they had translation chips implanted with in like the neck of a Earthling. This chip would take verbal input from an alien and speak to your brain in English. Then as you spoke in English your voice box would output what you said in there language coming from your voice box. In the world of Star Trek this is why everyone spoke English. Plus this way it saves moneybecause in QAmerica if you want a job you speak English.