There are some years when technology takes leaps and bounds and 2015 looks set to be one of those years that will transform the world again. Communication takes a giant leap forward to an unprecedented new level, allowing global communication as only seen in the realms of science fiction.
It was said that once all people on Earth spoke the same language, and that God introduced languages to stop man from destroying himself, from building the tower of Babel and congregating in Babylon.
Hmmm…well, whatever your religious beliefs, language has always been a barrier and overcoming that barrier takes considerable study and hard work. Learning a language takes time, effort and it doesn’t come easy.
In 2015 however, that language barrier just got knocked down by two tech giants, Google and Microsoft. In my view both of these new developments herald a land mark moment like time travel or teleportation because an instant language machine has been the dream of many for so long, symbolising a more advanced future – and here it is!
Let’s start with Google and the updated Google Translate App.
As part of the massive update that has just been rolled out this month (January 2015), the app now has the ability to translate speech in real time! Yes, real time speech translation – now if that in itself isn’t ground breaking enough, it can do that in seven different languages – from English to and from French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish – and you can take pictures of text and translate them in to 36 languages!
The simplified app now allows you to select the two languages that are being spoken, tap the mic and start speaking, tap the mic again while the other person answers and the app instantly begins to translate.
As well as the audible translation, instant translation of any written words is now in real time and simply amazing. The app uses the phones camera to see the words and then translate them, overlaying that translation on to the screen instantly. Perfect for foreign menus or at airports and train stations.
Microsoft Skype software and the new Translator tool
The next ground breaking technological release of 2015 which is currently only in beta, is the Skype translation tool.
This now provides instant spoken and text translations as you chat with someone via a video link using Skype software.
It currently only works between English and Spanish languages, but once the preview stage is done it is hoped that Translator will work with up to 40 different languages. This is serious star trek stuff!
The Skype Translator Preview currently only works on Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, if you’re interested in testing the Skype Translator beta then you can register on the site – http://www.skype.com/en/translator-preview/
If you want to come and try it out then any Spanish speakers out there feel free to call the office once you have it downloaded. You will love it as much as we do!