SpeakLike introduced a Web chat application at Demo 08 that translates languages in real time. Currently available for English, Simplified Chinese and Spanish, SpeakLike aims to improved the speed and reduce the cost for translation services, according to CEO Sanford Cohen.
SpeakLike employs machine translation as well as a human assist. As you type text, the content is translated by machine and if it doesn't pass inspection, a human translator corrects the machine-translated text in real time. Of course, it may not be real time if the translator is too slow. Translators can more easily deal with slang, idioms and instant messaging shortcut, Cohen said. The company has lined up a customer, with doctors from around the world who need to collaborate. The company also plans to add support for legal and medical translation. Pricing is 10 cents per message. A typical translation service cost about $1.75 per minute, Cohen said.
One potential problem is privacy. You many not want human translators reading your messages, especially for corporate communications. Cohen said that chat messages in a session could be distributed among several different translators as a way to deal with the problem. That doesn't sound like much of a solution, unless the translators are carefully vetted and bonded.