Want to Be Multilingual? There's an App for That

If you’re kicking yourself for not working harder to learn another language, you might only have to turn to a new voice application for help.

This week, Cellictica, a privately owned speech technology company based out of Helsinki, Finland, released Tippo VoiceMagix, a speech-to-speech translator application, for the iPhone. This app allows a user to speak in one language and then hear a spoken translation into the target language. The translated text also appears, via speech-to-text technology, as text on the iPhone. A version of this application, Trippo Mondo, is also available for J2ME (smartphones, Android, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry), but it doesn’t have speech-to-speech capability; instead it translates text to speech. 

“There are quite a few technologies involved, and we have integrated all of them into this application,” says Kimmo Sainio, CEO of Cellictica. “To my knowledge, we are the first ones to bring this kind of application to the market. I’m excited to see what the customer reaction will be. 

To power VoiceMagix, Cellictica partnered with Nuance Communications, leveraging the same core technologies that power Dragon Dictation and Dragon Search and some others. Nuance's Vocalizer enables the text-to-speech readout.

“Bringing speech-to-speech translation functionality to the masses represents a tremendous global market opportunity,” said Michael Thompson, senior vice president and general manager of Nuance Mobile, in a statement. “Cellictica’s innovative approach to language translation with the Trippo VoiceMagix app is solving a very timely need for today’s increasing global society.”

Currently, the application can translate more than 20 languages. Cellictica is looking to keep expanding the application, according to Sainio. “We are planning to launch several applications using speech technology control or search discovery,” he says.

A free demo version with an option to upgrade should be available from Apple shortly, Sainio says. “I want everyone to have a chance to try out the new technology for free.”

VoiceMagix is currently available for a promotional price of $9.99. 

While the application doesn’t guarantee 100 percent accuracy, it will probably beat fumbling through a phrasebook any day.

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