Speech Technology Magazine

 

Machine Translation

Whether embedded in a piece of hardware or as software that can be installed on a laptop computer or PDA,applications that rely on speech recognition and speech synthesis technologies and language databases canprovide instantaneous translation of key words and phrases.
By Ryan Joe - Posted Sep 5, 2007
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BUSINESS PROBLEM: As companies expand their global reach, conferencing and communicating with existing or potential clients and business partners in other countries presents unique challenges, and live translators are not always readily available or practical.
TECHNOLOGY SOLUTION : Machine Translation

Product: Ectaco Multilingual Partner E15K800 Talking Electronic Dictionary and Phrasebook
Pricing: Prices start at $699.95.
Functionality: The Ectaco E15K800 is a handheld, multilingual translation device. It boasts a speaker-independent speech recognition system that understands most Western languages as well as Arabic, Czech, Korean, Russian, and others. Additionally, the E15K800 features a native speaker voice output in 16 languages and text-to-speech voice synthesis for 11 others. Users can activate a slang lock to filter unwanted idioms, and a dictionary, with 10 million words already included, can be expanded and modified via exchangeable MMC/SD cards. It is designed for the serious traveler.
Business benefits: The E15K800 offers instant reverse translation via speech recognition software and both
native speaker and synthesized voice output.
Contact: Ectaco at 1-347-728-1354; www.ectaco.com.


Product: SpeechGear Compadre Interact
Pricing: Prices start at $69.95.
Functionality: As an installable program on a PDA, Compadre Interpreter provides bidirectional language translation using speech-to-speech, text-to-text, speech-to-text, or text-to-speech applications. Users can select either synthesized or recorded voice output in either male or female voices. Interpreter supports multiple translations, both formal and informal, on either a per-word or per-phrase basis; users can select a particular phrase to match an intended meaning. Additionally, Interpreter takes advantage of the PDA’s touch screen, allowing users to select a desired interface. In this way, the program adapts to the user’s preferences. While Compadre Interpreter already comes packaged with phrases for general conversation, add-ons include packages for medical situations and military operations. Additionally, Interpreter is compatible with Compadre Composer, through which users can customize Interpreter’s vocabulary. Available languages include Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and German.
Business benefits: Real-time, instantaneous translation makes it easier to conference with foreign-based colleagues.
Contact: SpeechGear at 1-888-664-9123; www.speechgear.com.


Product: Language Weaver
Pricing: Prices start at $5,000.
Functionality: While most translation services operate by encoding grammatical rules and dictionary definitions, Language Weaver takes a statistical approach, finding analogs in previously translated languages and applying them to new ones. This allows Language Weaver to create more accurate and natural-sounding translations. Currently, the software can handle most major Western European, Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and Asian languages. Language Weaver also features a customization service, either as an add-on tool or as a service, allowing for more industry-specific translations. There’s also an optional archive that enables the storage and reusing of previously translated text.
Business benefits: While Language Weaver had been built primarily for military and government uses, it has just recently been expanded for corporate use. Its software is engineered to create publication-quality texts and generate first-draft translations.
Contact: Language Weaver at 1-310-437-7300; www.languageweaver.com.

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