Google could launch a Babelfish-style translation device which would straight away translate any foreign language.
The prototypes consist of mobile phones that contain a “near perfect” translation structure when dealing with certain language combinations. Barra cites English to Portuguese as the nearest to being ready.
Barra explained that the translation technology worked “close to 100%” of the time, cutting out background noise which is usually an issue with speech recognition.
Google is currently prototyping a real-time translation technology that could revolutionize the way people communicate when abroad. Android VP Hugo Barra presented some details on the initiative — which exceeds the scope of Google’s current translate services — to The UK Times. “We’ve got tons of prototypes of that sort of interaction, and I’ve played with it every other week to see how much progress we’ve made,” Barra said. Google’s Babelfish-like concept could theoretically allow two people who speak different languages to speak into a device and have their words translated with zero delay.
Google has been testing the tool in “controlled environments”, so a real-word instant translator might be a fairly long way off. Google themselves have admitted that it is still several years away. In the meantime, Google Chrome is currently able to translate words and phrases – although often inaccurately – on a web page. The Google Translate app also offers mobile translation for users via their smartphone or tablet.