Google leaps language barrier with translator phone from The Times Online reports Google is working on a new tool that would bring instant translation to people.
It appears that Google is a couple years away from this coming but they would build on their existing Google Translate and Google Voice features to create an instant translator. You would speak to it in any language, Google would then convert that and spit it back in the language of choice. Google Voice, Google Mobile search and similar products already take use of speech to text services. Google Translate already has some languages that speak to you. Bridging the two together and improving on the underlying technology, can make these feat possible.
Franz Och, Google’s head of translation services, told The Times Online:
We think speech-to-speech translation should be possible and work reasonably well in a few years’ time.
Clearly, for it to work smoothly, you need a combination of high-accuracy machine translation and high-accuracy voice recognition, and that’s what we’re working on.
If you look at the progress in machine translation and corresponding advances in voice recognition, there has been huge progress recently.
Postscript From Danny Sullivan: Google actually demonstrated this software live and working in December. See our Liveblogging The Google’s Web Search “Evolution” Event’ post from then.