By Ed Oswald | 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.