Daibutsu, Kamakura

Daibutsu, Kamakura
Daibutsu in Kamakura, June 2010. There were thousands of school kids visiting that day. It was still great fun.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

You don't speak Japanese? Call Google

The Los Angeles Times has an article on the newest advance of the Google Translate technology.

Google has developed a phone application that can listen to speech and provide translations in a computerized voice for English, Mandarin, and Japanese. The application runs on Google phones using the Android operating system. According to the article, the Times tested the application using several speakers of Mandarin and Japanese and the opinion was that, although not perfect, the application works surprisingly well for basic phrases. The application can translate to and from a total of about 50 languages into text but currently the only languages that it recognizes spoken words are English, Mandarin, and Japanese.

It is interesting how Google's translate computer programs are getting smarter. According to the article:

Google trains its computers to translate by constantly feeding them examples of a text that occurs in two or more languages. Many official United Nations documents, for instance, are carefully translated into the languages of member countries. Looking at those "parallel" documents, Google's translation system can deduce the way many words and phrases are translated. And the more examples it gulps down, the smarter it gets.

The idea of a Star Trek-like universal translator is coming. Maybe they will even eventually include Klingonese.


  1. Now if only it could sound like Sinichi Chiba: You say Arigatou' like we say Arigatou!

  2. That may be a while before Google can figure that out.