Universally Speaking

Recently I was writing up a post on studying the history of our time, and how different it would be to when I studied History at university. It struck me that one of the most interesting changes would be that students will be able to access lots of materials in foreign languages.

Clearly, non-book materials will be much more important, and video especially. Google Translate on the web does a passable (but improving) job of translating text. But the idea of studying using foreign-language video got me thinking – wouldn’t it be cool if you combined Google Translate with Siri to make something that would translate speech on the fly?

Turns out I’m about a year behind on this one. In January 2011, Google announced a new feature in the Google Translate mobile app that enables you to translate conversations. And a company called Vocre is way ahead even of them right now.

The possibilities are amazing. You would no longer need to speak the same language as the person you’re talking to in order to have a conversation!

Here’s a video of the Google’s version:

And here’s Vocre, via TechCrunch:

What do you think?

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