It seems the holy grail for firms working globally, where everyone can discuss business in their native tongue regardless of language barriers.
In Japan, NTT Docomo looks first to market with an initial Japanese to English, Mandarin and Korean telephone conversation translator with more coming.
There are competitors everywhere who are snapping at their heals though with the likes of Lexifone, Vocre and the mighty Microsoft all working on realtime call translators.
The translation takes place with a slight pause after the person has spoken. It was trialed with a one second delay but the test group preferred the full conversational sentences following by the translation.
Whilst the software cannot offer perfect translations (businesses beware), if it develops confidently over the next decade it could effect the way we do business.
The product has the potential to let companies avoid employing multi-lingual staff, helping them cut costs. It has also been mentioned it could aid tourism.
Our thoughts are that whilst this could no doubt be a huge leap forward for business, one should not forget multi-lingual staff, generally foreign workers, add more than simply their language skills to the workplace. They are able to ensure a full cultural translation, something software could never do (I’m here to eat my words though – I, Robot).
It could also have a profound effect on the use of English as the ‘business’ language of the world. Maybe not overnight but in the far future, who knows. The software may decide to develop a centralized language all of it’s own which we’ll all think of adopting.
All food for thought and remember, du hast es hier zuerst gehoert
All the best
The Jordon Team