Automated speech-to-speech language translation should be possible in a few years' time, according to Google translation chief Franz Och.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Och said the company was examining the possible fusion of two types of technology it already has, namely Google Translate's text-to-text translation and the voice recognition system it has built into Android 2.1.
"We think speech-to-speech translation should be possible and work reasonably well in a few years' time," Och is quoted as saying. "Clearly, for it to work smoothly, you need a combination of high-accuracy machine translation and high-accuracy voice recognition, and that's what we're working on.
"If you look at the progress in machine translation and corresponding advances in voice recognition, there has been huge progress recently."
Google Translate is able to translate text between 52 languages, with Haitian Creole being the latest addition.