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Toshiba Intros Trilingual Translation App For Cellphones 44

Posted by Soulskill
from the like-a-liberal-arts-major-only-better dept.
MojoKid writes "Shortly after hearing of a simple, two-way Spanish-to-English translator for the iPhone, Toshiba has announced that it has developed a new language translation system that requires no server-side interaction. The app is designed to be operated independently on a smartphone, which will eliminate costly data roaming fees that are generally incurred using systems that require an internet connection to retrieve translations. The system is trilingual in nature and enables users to translate freely among Japanese, Chinese, and English."
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Toshiba Intros Trilingual Translation App For Cellphones

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  • If being able to handle three languages is "trilingual", what do you call a phone that can only support one language?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      American

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        As an American, this is worthless to me. I've never heard Chinese or Japanese spoken here, but you do hear a lot of Spanish, and lately in the convinience stores, Hindi and Arabic.

        They have a Spanish-English translator that uses a server, why can't they use this tech to make a serverless Spanish-English translator? In many US cities there's more Spanish than English spoken, but nobody here speaks Chinese or Japanese.

    • by marciot (598356)

      An American phone.

  • Finally, a translation app that just might be effective.
  • There is a world of difference between translating between Spanish and English (two European languages) and English and Japanese or English and Chinese.

    Even bilingual people have trouble,www.engrish.com [engrish.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MaskedSlacker (911878)

      Actually it's only half of a world of a difference.

    • The top entry as of now says: [engrish.com]

      Our mission is to make our customer ... say what a so tasty!!

      That looks-a more like Itarian.

    • There is a world of difference between translating between Spanish and English (two European languages) and English and Japanese or English and Chinese. Even bilingual people have trouble, www.engrish.com [engrish.com]

      Most of the stuff in the Engrish site is not a good example of difficulties in translation at all. A true example of difficulty in translation would be when a full bilingual (somebody who can understand and speak both languages correctly) would have difficulty rendering the meaning of a source language

  • talk to me (Score:3, Informative)

    by SoupGuru (723634) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @08:42PM (#30589192)
    I've poked around Talk to Me, an app for Android. You speak your phrase into it and it speaks back in the language of your choice.

    I don't know if it requires a data connection or not, but we're living in the future now.
  • When they develop a phone for anilingus, I'll be the first in line.
  • This will definitely make it easier and slightly cheaper to meet and communicate with my future wife! Maybe. Or not.

  • "What did he say?"
    "I dunno - here - give him this iPhone - it has a translation app"
    "Nah - it's bust - no network signal in this area, something about the local cell provider not supporting network heavy phones in this area - If only it was a Toshiba"
    "Anyway, where's that syringe gone ..."

    • "What did he say?" "I dunno - here - give him this iPhone - it has a translation app" "Nah - it's bust - no network signal in this area, something about the local cell provider not supporting network heavy phones in this area - If only it was a Toshiba"

      how dare a company, a giant player in the industry, and not a person want us all to have wireless broadband.

  • by tulare (244053) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @09:22PM (#30589438) Journal

    As anyone who has ever used an online translation engine can tell you, going between English and either Chinese or Japanese leads to a stream of gibberish which at best gives the wily reader a hint of what the original topic might have been about.

    I foresee a few tourists on both sides of the pond having some epic adventures as a result of relying upon this app :)

  • "My hovercraft is full of eels."
  • Bonguerno Signero, Votre entre une wordo per lingua translateation, une letter per tempo.,

    --> Aardvark

    Errata wordo non lingua franka

    ---

    El Humour [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

  • Scientists are more likely to design a warp drive before they do a truly effective translation program. Anyone who is bilingual would be happy to tell you just how difficult translation is. Human languages are not just sets of words and phrases that can be converted 1 for 1 back and forth. They are extremely complex with shades of meaning and varying context which must be inferred based on associations that only humans are able to make. It seems that monolingual Anglophones are the most difficult people to
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      And German is even relatively similar to English...aside from switching around word order and obeying German grammar, something can be phrased in German and English in a very similar way. It may sound clumsy in one language, but it can be understood. In comparison, a sentence translated from English to Japanese frequently uses a completely different word structure. As an example:
      English: I like you

      German: Ich mag dich.

      The English and German bo take the form of [Subject Pronoun] [verb] [Object pronoun].
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        anata wo suki desu

        Anata ga suki desu would mean "You like [something]"

        You would typically drop the "anata wo" and just say "suki da" and leave the rest to context. "desu" is a pretty formal for telling someone you like them. That is just a tiny drop in the enormous lake of cultural context you need to say even relatively simple stuff without fucking up in Japanese.

        I think that a good JEEJ translation program would be pretty much synonymous with Kurzweil's singularity.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I don't know, it depends on how effective you need. When I was stationed in Thailand in 1973 I learned enough Thai to order a meal in a restaraunt, tell a cab driver where I wanted to go, let a drug dealer who was pointing a gun at my face that I only wanted to buy some pot, understand them when they told me what their wares cost, etc. I certainly couldn;t have gotten on a stage and explained how a transistor radio worked, but my limited communication skills were as effective as I needed.

      My biggest problem

  • A trilingual translator. Impressive, I suppose. But how long will it be before we get the universal translator of Star Trek and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (babelfish) fame? I might be tempted to pay $5 for such a beast.
  • ....and when someone does hack it, we're going to see:

    "My hoooovercraft is full of eels....."
    "Please fondle my buttocks"
    "Pull down your panties, I can't wait till lunchtime"

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