New application to be launched later this year will be able to instantly translate phone conversations from one language into another with local accents
Scientists from the renowned Beijing University Language Laboratory (BULL) have developed a revolutionary application that can turn any iPhone into an instant colloquial interpretation device.
The ‘app’, to be marketed as ‘The Babel Breaker’ (pictured) utilises a complex algorithm that can not only instantly translate a conversation in real time from one language to another, but can also translate accents and local slang.
The algorithm took 20 man years of software development by the BULL scientists.
The person receiving the call hears it in a natural accent and dialect. For example, a French speaker could call someone in New Zealand and say “comment allez-vous” (how are you going?).It would be heard by the Kiwi listener as “Airgun mate.Orright?”.
Operators are said to be excited about the app as it could lead to increased voice revenues.
This is because the interpreted call is billed twice – once in the original language and once for the interpreted part of the conversation. Users pay for the service through their iTunes account.
In an exclusive experimental telephone call to Mobile News on an iPhone using the app, BULL’s Head of Languages Professor Idhid Itmai-Wei, said: “We started work on this project two years ago and it knocks anything Google has dans un chapeau à cornes.
“This app could be the greatest step towards world peace and understanding since the United Nations was established. Think of it. No more wars started just because the protagonists couldn’t understand each other properly. You could have Colonel Gadaffi calling William Hague in a Yorkshire accent. Russian President Dmitry Medved could call Obama who would hear ‘Hey Bro’ Wassup?”
The development team at BULL is doing final testing on the app, which will be released, towards the end of the year.
“We don’t want to rush this before it is 100 per cent accurate. You can imagine the damage that could ensue if unintentional insults were transmitted,”Professor Itmai-Wei added.
The final version will instantly process the world’s leading languages and dialects including English to French, German to South African, Chinese to Spanish, and Portuguese to Australian (or ‘Strine’).
Senior telecoms analyst Hugo Phurst of investment bank Norfolk ‘n Good, which has funded development said: “It’s an exciting project and has certainly got potential.We’ve had a beta version to evaluate en zo ver ze zijn indrukwekkend. La mesure où le système a été absolument parfait.”