The world continues to get smaller and smaller, and business is simultaneously becoming more and more a global matter. It's tough to do any business these days without some sort of interaction with someone in a foreign land, so knowing foreign languages has become increasingly important. Of course, it's not exactly easy to learn another language, so there's where the tech companies step in. Shortly after hearing of a simple two-way Spanish-to-English translator
for the iPhone, Toshiba
has announced that it has developed a new translation system that requires no server-side interaction.
The app is designed to be ran completely on one's mobile phone, which will eliminate costly data roaming fees that are generally incurred using other systems that require an Internet connection to retrieve translations. The system is trilingual in nature, and in essence, it's a smashed version of a PC app that already exists. It enables users to translate freely between Japanese, Chinese and English. Initially, the software employs speech recognition to determine the language and what has been said, and then it uses either machine translation or rule-based machine translation to break the phrases down and convert them into another language.
So far, the app has fared decently in testing, and of course it can always be tweaked for precision. The best part is that it accepts phrases via spoken word, which is far faster to input than with a keyboard. Below is a demonstration of the software running on a larger handheld PDA device.
We're told that a Windows Mobile version could be out soon and future plans for porting it to BlackBerry or iPhone OS are on the horizon. One would think that with current install base for these more dominant hand-held operating systems that Toshiba will move quickly to support a wider swath of more popular smartphones.