Google Wants to Launch a Universal Translation System

Google Wants to Launch a Universal Translation System

One of the most ambitious projects so far from Google Translate is to launch a voice-enabled universal translation system that will eliminate language barriers, an article on Spiegel mentions. Tourists and travelers will be able to get along with anyone, in any country, interpretation will be a lot easier and people will be able to interact with each other without any trouble at all.

It might seem far fetched, but a team leaded by Franz Josef Och, a German computer scientist, is already working on this project, an old dream of Och in fact. So what we used to see only in sci-fi movies or read in books, might become reality in the future. For now, only in what the interaction with people from other countries and continents is concerned.

Google Translate is already providing translations back and forth between 71 languages and was used about 200 million times last year. However, the translations aren’t always accurate. The tool works great for short sentences, but for longer ones problems appear. That is due to the algorithm itself, as Google Translate is based on analyzing data and recognize patterns and doesn’t work with linguists.

“”So what the system is basically doing (is) correlating existing translations and learning more or less on its own how to do that with billions and billions of words of text,” says Och. “In the end, we compute probabilities of translation.”

Och himself recognizes that he has problems learning foreign languages:

“I have trouble learning languages, and that’s precisely the beauty of machine translation: The most important thing is to be good at math.”

The Google Translate team launched so far an app that transforms smartphones into a talking translation machine and provides translations in several of the languages included in the online version. However, the app has its limits, being “slightly slow and awkward, because you have to press buttons” as Och admits. But they are working on improving it, and experience should make it better.

As already mentioned, translations provided by Google Translate aren’t always perfect; they often require a little bit of work in terms of syntax. If you are looking for a reliable translation solution for your business, we are here to help you translate with the outmost accuracy your large projects.  A parting note, Google is not alone in pursuing far reaching voice translation dreams, Microsoft is also working along similar lines.

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