Real-time trans­la­tors

Could new tech­nolo­gies help us break down lan­guage bar­ri­ers?

How It Works - - CONTENTS -

Un­veiled at CES 2018, the MARS wire­less ear­buds (devel­oped in a joint ef­fort by the NAVER Cor­po­ra­tion and LINE Cor­po­ra­tion) show­cased the fu­ture of real-time lan­guage trans­la­tion. Pow­ered by Clova AI, the MARS wire­less Blue­tooth ear­buds can trans­late speech from an­other lan­guage into the wearer’s na­tive tongue al­most in­stantly.

Clova works as a voice-con­trolled vir­tual as­sis­tant – sim­i­lar to Alexa or Siri – that lis­tens to your con­ver­sa­tion and trans­mits the data to your smart­phone via Blue­tooth. The ac­com­pa­ny­ing app then trans­lates the speech and trans­mits a record­ing of the trans­la­tion back to the ear­buds, which play it back for you to hear. All this hap­pens within a frac­tion of a se­cond, so the trans­la­tions are re­layed in al­most real time. Each pair of ear­buds can work as a sin­gle trans­la­tor for two peo­ple. For use in crowded ar­eas, MARS also fea­tures noise-block­ing tech­nol­ogy to fo­cus on in­di­vid­ual con­ver­sa­tions. The cur­rent MARS can trans­late be­tween ten dif­fer­ent lan­guages, in­clud­ing English, Ja­panese and French, but 40 lan­guages may be sup­ported in the near fu­ture.

MARS isn’t the only prod­uct break­ing the lan­guage bar­rier. Waverly Labs have cre­ated The Pi­lot, which works in a sim­i­lar fash­ion to the MARS. How­ever, trans­la­tions are con­sec­u­tive, so you have to wait for a per­son to stop talk­ing be­fore the trans­la­tion is then played back through the ear­buds.

Google has put its epony­mous Trans­late tech­nol­ogy to use in their Google Pixel Buds. How­ever, in this sys­tem only one per­son wears the ear­buds. Their side of the con­ver­sa­tion is trans­lated and then played to the non-wearer via the app in­stead.

The Pi­lot ear­buds have noise-block­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties to min­imise sur­round­ing sounds

The MARS ear­buds won the Best of In­no­va­tion award at 2018’s CES

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