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Real-time speech translation ahead

Google claims its prototype translator is “close to 100% accuracy” in the lab, but does not give launch date

GOOGLE has announced its prototype real-time speech translation systems are performing with "close to 100% accuracy" in laboratory conditions.

However the web giant has given no indication as to when a finished product will become a reality.

Google Translate, the web and mobile tool for converting text from one language to another, is already indispensable for most business travelers, expats and holidaymakers.

The company is developing a real-time translation tool that can do for voice what its current systems can do for text.

In an interview with The Times, Android product management vice president Hugo Barra revealed that the current prototypes are achieving "close to 100% accuracy," and that with some language pairings, the results are "near perfect," meaning that in laboratory conditions at least (ie. without background noises and over a perfect internet connection), two people speaking two completely different languages can communicate via the system.

Earlier this month, Microsoft Asia researchers demonstrated a system that uses the Kinect sensor that can translate sign language in real time and also turn text into visual sign language via an avatar.

Have you tried using voice or text translation tools? Have you had any interesting results? Would you use such a tool in France? Could it replace learning a language? Visit our Facebook page or email at news[at]

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