Translator specs

A Japanese company has come up with a gizmo called a Tele Scouter / テレスカウター which can translate what people say to you in foreign languages and display the results via a retinal display attached to your glasses.

The Tele Scouter is a small gadget that fixes onto glasses which incorporates a retinal display, a camera and a microphone. The microphone picks up the language and transmits it to a small computer worn around the waist, which sends it to a server for translation. The translation is then displayed on the retina. The device cannot currently keep up with language spoken at normal speed, and is a bit bulky, but it’s an interesting development.

If the size can be reduced and the speed and reliability increase, this device could be really useful. If it could also translate and/or transliterate written language, if would be even more useful, especially in for languages written with different writing systems.

7 thoughts on “Translator specs

  1. There was an iPhone application released recently called Jibbigo that does speech-to-speech translation between English and Spanish. While a retinal display has the potential of being more discrete this application has the benefit of working both ways. 🙂

  2. There are still light years to go for speech recognition applications (machine translation itself is still awful unless it’s just for informal purposes), but definitely kudos to the new developments, even if they’ll be functionally “beta” for quite a while.

  3. Online keyboards software, translation software, speech recognition software…how could human translators and interpreters not be scared? The brute force labor of language professionals is being replaced by machines. Soon, language professionals may only be needed at the end phase of refinement and copy-editing.

  4. I think machines won’t be as good as humans at translation for a very long time.
    They are getting impressive at giving rough translations to give you a general idea of what a text is about but they still don’t actually understand what they are translating. Without this comprehension, they can never see the context of a text or the mood of a speaker for example.
    Still, gadgets like this are getting more and more useful.

  5. While computer translation is getting better, I agree that it’s just not there yet. This is quite a cool idea though.

  6. Once again, technological advances seek to replace or restructure entire professions. In this case the profession of translator or interpreter. For a while, professional translators and interpreters will be needed for fine tuning the machine translators, however, the need for this is likely to be phased out if the vast improvement seen in speech recognition technology over the past decade is any indication of how translation software will improve. I don’t understand why they would prefer to combine the pocket translator with retinal projection glasses, an emerging technology, rather than an earphone in which the words are spoken. This would seem like an easier feat. Perhaps limited bandwidth? Or perhaps they’ve developed the retinal projection glasses and this just happens to be one of the first applications for it that they chose to publicize? Once mass production drives these glasses down in size and price, the applications for it are subject only to the imagination. They will replace all types of displays, and if combined with pupil tracking, they can replace input devices like mouses and touch-pads. Your cell phone display could be displayed on your retina at all times. Movies and games can be in 3d if different images are properly beamed in each eye. The current technology may be only limited to simple lines, so this may be why they chose translation and user-manuals as the first applications.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.