Is Google’s Universal Translator the Future of Communication?

July 26th, 2013 | Articles, Job Search | No Comments »


How many languages do you speak? Short of being a polyglot, you probably have only mastered 1 or 2 of the estimated 6,700 recognized throughout the world. With that many languages it is impossible for anyone to master them all, and if you are anything like me you probably struggled with the one you tried learning in school.

In a diverse country like the United States, which houses native tongues from all over the world, coming across someone who speaks a different language can be an everyday occurrence. Plus, the internet has made it easy for people from all over the world to interact. But how can people communicate without going through the tedious process of adopting a second, third, fourth (and so on) language?

Thankfully, Google is now in the process of creating an app for that.

The tech giant is currently working on a device that will automatically translate what you say into a large collection of world languages. That’s right, Star Trek’s universal translator is about to become a reality.

Google hopes to one day install the device into all Android phones, making it accessible to millions of people all over the world. Although the plans are in motion, Google admits that they are quite a ways away from coming up with all an all-around translator. So far, they have been able to create a prototype that translates English into Portuguese, but speech recognition software is often finicky and hard to use. Also, going from Portuguese to English is an entirely different matter that will have to be left for future innovations.

Will the Google Glass one day have a mouthpiece addition that can translate any language to any other?

It’s a far-cry from the Babel Fish but this prospective future will have to do for now.

By Kevin Withers

Image courtesy of Jian Awe via Flickr