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Converse iPhone app turns your phone into a double-ended language translator

We've all been there - you're trying to communicate with someone who doesn't speak your language and you don't speak theirs, and no amount of charades and gesturing will do the trick. You need a toilet and he's wondering why you're telling him your brother eats flies. Converse is the name of a new app that will soon become available which is claimed to turn your iPhone into a double ended language translator – a multilingual, face-to-face instant messaging conversation. It's one of the most innovative uses of the iPhone's form factor we've yet seen, with both people able to type on a keyboard in their own language at the same time and have the words translated and displayed for the other person. If it works as advertised, Converse is set to significantly reduce communication problems on holidays and business trips. The new app enables an English speaker to communicate with people in 51 different languages and keyboards accommodate non-Latin languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Thai, Czech, Hebrew and Ukrainian scripts.  Read More

Google integrates multi-language virtual keyboards into search

If you are trying to search the web using a language other than English and you don't have the correct keyboard handy, well, there's bound to be a problem. Google has come up with a solution by integrating virtual keyboards into its search engine. Now up and running in 35 languages, the on-screen keyboards allow input in a local language script without any additional software and no matter what computer you are using.  Read More

Should ‘tweet’, ‘Twitter’ or ‘unfriend’ be the 2009 word of the year?

The English language is continually evolving and thanks to the technology of the 21st century – including the media and internet - new words and phrases are being created at an unprecedented rate. Increasingly, these new words result from our love affair with the internet, online social networking sites and geek-speak. This year, the American Dialect Society (ADS) has voted “tweet” – a short message sent via Twitter – as the 2009 word of the year. But two other organizations disagreed. The Global Language Monitor nominated “Twitter” as the word of the year and the New Oxford American Dictionary claimed “unfriend” – meaning to “de-friend” someone on a social networking site such as Facebook – deserved the 2009 word of the year award.  Read More

The Tele Scouter prototype wearable retinal display

The days of a Universal Translator like the one that made chatting between alien species a non-issue in Star Trek might be some way off yet. But a new device from NEC is definitely a step in the right direction for those of us on planet Earth looking for a way to communicate with other language speakers that doesn’t involve a human translator or a well-thumbed phrase book. The prototype device called a “Tele Scouter” is a glasses type display that translates the foreign language being spoken by a partner and projects the translation onto a tiny retinal display.  Read More

Karen Braun, Xerox color research scientist, helped develop a natural language that allows...

If you’re not a graphic designer, you may have struggled in the past to get your personal photos looking their best when relying on your printer’s color adjustment settings. Complex color wheels, sliders, brightness and contrast editors, and highlight tools all look handy – until you try to use them. Xerox has devised Natural Language Color Editing technology that allows you to adjust the colors in your printed documents by accessing plain English phrases. A drop-down Color By Words menu on your computer offers phrases like: ‘Make the blues a lot more vibrant’, which will then do just that across the entire document or image. Combining words can form thousands of different phrases to deliver the results you want. You can watch the demo video below or test drive the technology for yourself via the link at the end of this story.  Read More

The Qlocktwo offers stunning good looks and a thoroughly pleasant time-keeping experience ...

What's so great about numbers anyway? And why is it that the circular form seems so sought after? After all, the Qlocktwo from proves beyond reasonable doubt that it's cool to be square and words are what matter most. The familiar rounded clock face is abandoned in favor of a stylish and elegant, cornered design where illuminated letters spell out the time at set intervals. It's time-signal receiver ensures this quartz-driven timepiece is always accurate and its interchangeable faces offer numerous color coordination options.  Read More

Rosetta Stone TOTALe is a new online language-learning package that enhances the effective...

Rosetta Stone, the well-known language learning software that has helped millions worldwide learn a language without translation or memorization has moved into the online and Web 2.0 realm with it’s new language learning solution TOTALe. TOTALe combines three elements - the Rosetta Course, offered in 31 languages, Rosetta Studio, where you can practice with native-speaking Studio Coaches and other learners at your level in a real-time, and Rosetta World, a structured online community where you can practice and hone your language skills with native speakers and other learners at your level through fun and engaging games.  Read More

 Swearing proven to have a 'pain-lessening effect'

Swearing has been around for centuries and is an almost universal human linguistic phenomenon. Now researchers have determined that swearing can have a ‘pain-lessening effect.’ Swearing taps into emotional brain centers and appears to arise in the right brain, whereas most language production occurs in the left cerebral hemisphere of the brain. The research shows one potential reason why swearing developed and why it persists.  Read More

Lip-reading computers distinguish between different languages

Computerized lip-reading technology for deaf people - and surveillance cameras - has taken a step forward with scientists from the University of East Anglia successfully teaching computers to recognize different languages from the shapes and movements of people’s mouths.  Read More

Rosetta Stone: taking language to the public

The Rosetta Stone is a famous ancient Egyptian artifact discovered in 1799 that helped linguists unlock the secrets of Egyptian hieroglyphics. It's therefore an apt name for the company which has developed products designed to teach millions of people worldwide the secret of learning languages using interactive, computer based technology. Already laying claim to the title of the world's largest language software company, Rosetta Stone has now taken the plunge and gone public, the first company of its type to do so.  Read More

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