In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a comedic SF novel, there is a creature called the Babel fish. The characters in the book inserted these beings into their ears, which provided them with the instantaneous translation of all languages. It is this idea that launched several products on the market with the same purpose – to surpass the language barrier. Here are top products on the market that will let you converse with people from all over the world more easily.
After four years of research and development, Pilot launched earbuds with their own translating software. The idea was for the user to wear one and give the other one to the person they are talking to. The earbuds translate what a person is saying in real time efficiently and accurately.
Google’s Pixel Buds
Even though they weren’t the first on the market, Google released their own version of the Babel fish, called Pixel Buds. It offers translation in over forty languages. To use this service, one needs the Pixel Buds, a Google smartphone, and the Google Translate app. It is enough to activate the Google Assistant, and you’re good to go. Because Google is a tech giant, these are currently the most popular buds out there. It is compatible with Android and iOs.
The number of languages this product deals with is smaller than the Pixel Buds – 30. However, what it lacks in languages, it more than makes up for in its features. The translation occurs in real time, and to use the interface, one needs to move their head, instead of having several other devices. Dash Pro can work up to five hours without recharging and it’s compatible with BlueTooth. This product is developed by Bragi AI.
With only five languages, the Chinese still managed to have a horse in the race. A startup named Timekettle used the funds they obtained from Kickstarter and developed their own Babel fish earbuds. The battery life is slightly longer than that of Dash Pro – you can use it continuously for six hours.
The free messaging service now has the feature that facilitates international calls between people who don’t speak the same language. The voice translator covers English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese (Mandarin), Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Arabic, and Russian. It keeps improving by using machine learning and it is compatible with Windows 7, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, and Android systems.
What Does This Mean?
It is more than likely that the technology behind instant translators will keep improving. The reason for this is simple – no company has a monopoly on the market. Therefore, the environment is competitive and the companies presented here will have to keep innovating in order to remain relevant in the industry.
The number of languages will keep increasing, as well as the ease with which we will be able to use the interface. The potential applications in international diplomacy and business dealings will keep the market open to this technology for the foreseeable future.