Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Translator

A still from the demonstration video, which shows how Sigmo could work in the real world

The internet and smartphones have made it much easier to converse with people who speak different languages to you, with services using these technologies providing both instant text-to-speech and speech-to-speech translation options. Sigmo, a simple Bluetooth device which uses existing online translation services to translate from one language to the other and back again in real-time, is designed to be the middleman in the equation, thus removing the need to constantly shove your smartphone in people's faces.  Read More

DCML's TextGenie helps puzzled adults translate acronym-laden messages from their children...

Text messaging has transformed language into a kind of coded parlance that can be puzzling or outright indecipherable for recipients who do not follow SMS trends, which probably started in school patios across the world. In order to help those with difficulties understanding abbreviations and obscure acronyms used in English, British software developer DCML has greated TextGenie, which translates the increasingly cryptic SMS messages the younger generation tends to use.  Read More

Word Lens translates text captured using the camera on an iOS or Android device

When we first covered the Word Lens real-time translator app for iOS devices back in 2010, a number of readers voiced their hopes for an Android version. Now the app’s developers, Quest Visual, has finally shown Android users some love with the app now available through Google play.  Read More

The MyVoice prototype

Sign language is definitely a boon to deaf people when it comes to communicating with each other, or with non-deaf people who are trained in the system. If a hearing person doesn’t regularly deal with the deaf, however, then there's an obvious communication barrier. In order to address that situation, a group of engineering technology and industrial design students from the University of Houston have created MyVoice – a prototype American Sign Language (ASL) translator.  Read More

New software developed by Microsoft is able to reproduce the user's speech in another lang...

For some time now, speech-recognition programs have existed that attempt to reproduce the user’s spoken words in another language. Such “speech-to-speech” apps, however, provide their translations using a very flat, synthetic voice. Now, experimental new software developed by Microsoft is able not only to translate between 26 different languages, but it plays the translated speech back in the user’s own voice – complete with the inflections they used when speaking in their own language. It looks like a real-life version of Star Trek’s universal translator could soon be here.  Read More

Scientists are working on an underwater device that could facilitate two-way human-dolphin...

Despite his annoyingly cutesy synthetic voice, Darwin the Dolphin on the TV series SeaQuest DSV did present an intriguing possibility – what if we could create a dolphin language translator? Such a device may no longer be limited to the realm of science fiction, as two scientists are currently developing an underwater computer that they hope to someday use for two-way communications with wild dolphins.  Read More

The Quicktionary TS Premium is a handheld scanning and translation device that offers ding...

People who often find themselves undertaking research in a library or museum could well encounter a text written in a language different to their own. While online translation solutions are now readily available, retyping the word, phrase or page onto a smartphone using a virtual keyboard can quickly become a tiresome task. The Quicktionary TS Premium from Wizcom Technologies allows the user to scan the text into the device and a built-in word and phrase dictionary offers up the translation on the included screen. The pen-like device also has a built-in speaker to help those who want to learn how to pronounce the scanned word or line of text.  Read More

Word Lens uses your phone's camera to read and translate words in real time

Word Lens translates printed words in real time on your iPhone. Can our jet packs be far behind? Developed by Quest Visual, Word Lens is an augmented-reality translation app that uses your phone's camera to view printed words and translate them into another language as you watch. If you’re traveling for business or on vacation and need to read a street sign or a menu, point your phone and Word Lens instantly translates it, maintaining the color and font as it goes.  Read More

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

Frank Seide and Kit Thambiratnam demonstrating a real-world use for the Transcriptor! and ...

This year's TechFest has brought together researchers from around the globe to present, experience and discuss some of the emerging technologies from Microsoft's Research wing. Highlights include a mobile version of the company's Surface platform, a voice recognition transcription system with auto-translate and a couple of projects which use the body as a computer interface.  Read More

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