The race to smash linguistic barriers with simultaneous speech-to-speech translation is still wide open, and Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo has just joined Google Translate and DARPA on the track. Whereas Google Translate’s Conversation Mode was a turn-based affair when it was demoed back in January, requiring each party to pause awkwardly between exchanges, NTT DoCoMo’s approach seems a lot more natural. It isn’t based on new technology as such, but brings together a range of existing cloud-based services that recognize your words, translate them and then synthesize new speech in the other language — hopefully all before your cross-cultural buddy gets bored and hangs up. As you’ll see in the video after the break, this speed comes with the sacrifice of accuracy and it will need a lot of work after it’s trialled later in the year. But hey, combine NTT DoCoMo’s system with a Telenoid robot or kiss transmission device and you can always underline your meaning physically.
NTT DoCoMo exhibits on-the-fly speech translation, lets both parties just talk (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 30 May 2011 22:19:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.