Universal speech translator app ready for Olympics

univercel_transulater_london_2012

In one month’s time, millions of tourists from across the world will descend on London for the 2012 Olympics, creating the perfect test bed for a new speech translation iPhone app.

The app, dubbed VoiceTra4U-M, is a bit of a mouthful to say, but lets people converse with foreigners in their own language. It was developed by the Universal Speech Translation Advanced Research Consortium(U-STAR), which is made up of researchers from 23 different countries, and supports full voice translation for 13 different languages, with text translation for a further 10.

Users can share a single iPhone to speak face-to-face or make phone calls to anyone else using the app. In both cases the translation takes place on remote servers, introducing a slight delay to the conversation.

Google launched a similar speech translation app last year, but U-STAR’s version has a few differences. The app runs on a completely open platform, meaning that any country can run its own server to provide translations for its local language, and up to five people can converse at once, each in their own language – theoretically the system supports any number of people, but U-STAR has capped the app to reduce server load.

U-STAR has also initially focused on translating words and phrase related to tourism, making it 80 to 90 per cent accurate versus Google’s 40 to 60 per cent accuracy – though of course, this falls if you want to discuss a topic not covered by the app.

The app will soon be available for free from the App Store and U-STAR hopes that tourists visiting the UK will use it during the Olympics, allowing the researchers to gather experimental data and improve the service.


Blowfish12@2012 blowfish12.tk Author: Sudharsun. P. R.

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