Google has a ‘near perfect’ universal translator — for Portuguese, at least

Google aims to make a universal translator like the one from Star Trek, sans the flashlight form factor.

(Credit: CBS Television Studios / Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET)

Google continues its efforts to bring us the world of “Star Trek” and life on the U.S.S. Enterprise four centuries ahead of schedule — minus the really hard stuff like the warp drive. The company’s latest effort along these lines, according to Android product guru Hugo Barra, is a real-time universal translator.

Barra told the U.K. Times that “several years” from now, he envisions devices (likely Android phones or something similar) that allow people to travel around the globe without having to be concerned about language barriers. Barra also spoke of the ability for calls to be translated from one language to another in real time, so that a person on one end of the call might speak in English, and that speech would then be instantly translated into Portuguese for the person listening on the other end in Sao Paulo.

In fact, English and Portuguese was one language pairing that Barra specifically cited as already providing “near perfect” translations on Google’s prototype devices. Translation from Mandarin to the recently extinc… [Read more]

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