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Universal Speech Translator App Ready for Olympics

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Credit: Sipa Press/Rex Features

The 2012 Olympic Games in London will serve as the test bed for a new smartphone application that will enable people to converse with others in their own language.

The Universal Speech Translation Advanced Research Consortium developed VoiceTra4U-M, a speech translation app for the iPhone that supports full voice translation for 13 different languages, with text translation for an additional 10 languages. The app enables the user to speak face-to-face with another person using a single iPhone or make phone calls to anyone else. The translation takes place on remote servers, which leads to a slight delay during a conversation. The app runs on an open platform, which enables any country to run its own server to provide translations for its local language, and up to five people can converse at once, each in their own language.

Researchers from 23 countries are involved in the project and the initial focus was on translating words and phrases related to tourism. The app has up to 90 percent accuracy. VoiceTra4U-M will soon be available for free from the App Store, and data gathered from users during the Olympics will be used to improve it.

From New Scientist
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