Star Trek's universal translator is pretty much here and (surprise!) it's made by Google

Star Trek's universal translator is pretty much here and (surprise!) it's made by Google

Summary: It's not quite Star Trek, but it might be pretty darn close. This is one to watch.

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TOPICS: Google
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I know this is off the normal government topic (okay, fine, so it's not the first time), but Google has just introduced a feature where you can talk and translate with Chrome.

Given that the only other languages I speak are programming languages, I can't really give this beast a good test, but it appears you can speak into Chrome and it'll translate and speak back out again.

It's not quite Star Trek, but it might be pretty darn close. This is one to watch.

Topic: Google

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • Message has been deleted.

    iPad-awan
  • RE: Star Trek's universal translator is pretty much here and (surprise!) it's made by Google

    Nice graphic, David. I liked the way the Chrome logo was wrapped onto Kirk's shirt. Nicely done.
    kenosha77a
  • If your monolingual recuse yourself and skip the post

    Thanks for the disclaimer but as a monolingual you should have skipped the post. Anyone who speaks more than one language knows that the translation features are rubbish. The nonsense that comes out of them is worse then the instruction manual for really cheep goods out of the Pacific rim.
    rewand
    • RE: Star Trek's universal translator is pretty much here and (surprise!) it's made by Google

      @rewand

      I've been learning Spanish over the past few years. It is only as I began learning another language that i began to truly understand the problems of language translation.
      Wakemewhentrollsgone
    • Agree 100%

      @rewand Most translation software suck at their primary job.

      Just run Google Translate on any non-English website and you will see what I mean.

      Lately, I being using MS Bing Translator. It does a decent (not perfect) job at translating Spanish and french back and forward. But it only does the decent job on short phrases .... it blows chunks when you put in a normal size paragraph.
      wackoae
      • Harsh!

        @wackoae
        You and rewand are harsh! I found the translations to be entirely usable. Certainly better than not being able to speak a language whatsoever, which is the most common case...
        Are you two really going to write this off as useless until it's perfect?
        steve_jonesuk@...
    • If your monolingual recuse yourself and skip the post

      @rewand Cheep goods? Let me run that through my "Tweety -> English" translation option...
      cstorozuk@...
  • Message has been deleted.

    Ballmerrules
    • RE: Star Trek's universal translator is pretty much here and (surprise!) it's made by Google

      @Ballmerrules Nice try. Very amatuerish. :)
      Grayson Peddie
    • RE: Star Trek's universal translator is pretty much here and (surprise!) it's made by Google

      @Ballmerrules

      Come back when you've got something useful to say.
      boomchuck1
  • RE: Star Trek's universal translator is pretty much here and (surprise!) it's made by Google

    When I was a lad, my cousin had a japan made radio. It was crap. Fast forward ten years, and Japan made some nice radios, using transistors vice vacuum tubes - still not great, but better. Fast forward ten more years, and damned is they didn't have some of the best amps and receivers out there, with the former (USA) trailing and in last place.

    My point here is that sometimes the surprise is that the dog speaks at all, not that it has an accent. This represents the leading edge of a technology that will only get better with time.

    I hope that I live at least another ten years to check it out then.
    rruss5328@...
  • RE: Star Trek's universal translator is pretty much here and (surprise!) it's made by Google

    Thanks this was a good start for the day! lol.
    Altotus
  • Journalist = Headline Designer

    I thought TV, newspaper and magazine journalism was bad. The internet has spawned a world more addicted to flashy, empty headlines than these other disappointing media ever dreamed. If I were to tally the percentage of times the web article behind the headline delivered anything remotely close to the promise of said headline, I think the figure would be in the small single digits. All one needs to do these days to become a journalist is craft catchy headlines that convince editors that your click rate will be consistently high. No one seems to care if the content behind the headline disappoints.

    Want to prove me wrong?

    1) Add a button to all articles "Disappointed by content" and see what your click rate is.
    2) Post the author's name next to the headline on the newsletter. See what your click rate is.

    I know which authors write consistently useful and insightful articles and which delivery only flashy headlines. So why hide the fact from the reader until they land on the page?
    unconditionalliving@...
  • RE: Star Trek's universal translator is pretty much here and (surprise!) it's made by Google

    To do a truly good job of translating, the programmer has to have fully conquered natural language processing (of what is said) and generation (to the other language) and nobody has done that yet, nor are they very close.

    The best way to test a translator is to translate from, say, English to Spanish, then translate the result back into English. Here's what I just got from Google:

    "I wistfully approached the woman, not expecting her to remember me from high school."

    "Nostalgia I approached the woman, without waiting for it reminds me of high school."
    nfordtchrpub
  • RE: Star Trek's universal translator is pretty much here and (surprise!) it's made by Google

    The problem with many text translators is that they can't comprehend the context into which a body of text or conversation is taking place. If they could solve that problem then things would improve greatly.
    kryten2x4p@...
  • Translations

    Translators do a lot of the leg work. If you know another language but are a bit rusty on it (say, you can converse freely but can't always explain to your wife what you were talking about) then the translator comes to its own. It translates the document, but you still have to go through it making sure it makes sense (actually, my typing is like that. Somehow my fingers write with a different style than my mouth). Saves a lot of time, but never trust the results
    HugoM
  • RE: Star Trek's universal translator is pretty much here and (surprise!) it's made by Google

    I have been living abroad from the US for 13 years now and have seen the development of translators such as google for that time.

    My experience is that it has improved greatly in the past three years. Also for those whom use it, you can make corrections and those corrections help greatly.

    I have now tried chrome translator and it is without a doubt much improved and works great. while not perfect, the service could not be until we have an AI that can think and feel... great job Google!
    wayne@...