Glasses that Translate Speech?

It might sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but according to Reuters, a Japanese company is developing eyeglasses that can translate speech.

The Tele Scouter consists of a pair of eyeglass frames attached to a microphone and a small computer. A tiny display unit is mounted on to the frames. When someone talks to you in a foreign language, the microphone picks up the sound and sends it to be translated. Then, the translated text is sent back and projected into your peripheral vision, so you can read what the other person said while still maintaining eye contact.

Weird, huh? Kotaro Nagahama, a manager at NEC, the company that’s the developing the glasses, explained the potential advantages of the new technology to Reuters:
“With this you don’t have to think about having to translate your own words. All you have to do is speak and you don’t have to do any thinking. You just use your own language.”

Unfortunately, according to, at this point the devices’ translation capabilities are “insufficient for real-world applications.” So, at least for now, the company is focusing on selling the device to businesses and factories, which can use as a hands-free data display device for workers.

Also, it should be noted that even if the devices’ translation capabilities were spot-on, in order for it to truly useful for travelers, both you and the person you are speaking to need to have a pair of these magic glasses. Unless the company plans to incorporate a way to display what you are saying to the other person in their own language, the Tele Scouter appears to only translate one side of the conversation.  According to Reuters, NEC plans to sell the Tele Scouter for a whopping $83,000, so it’s not likely to gain widespread adoption anytime soon.

What do you think-will this idea ever become more than science fiction?

Cartoon Characters Translated

Hello Guys, I don’t know if you are me like but I used to love cartoons when I was a kid, and even now I still watch Disney movies sometimes (still a kid at heart). Have you ever wondered what are the names of your favorites characters abroad? Here are some exclusive translations… Hope you enjoy!


Bugs – Dusko Dugousko (Bosnia/Serbia/Croatia in ex-YU); Zekoslav Mrkva (Croatia today); Bugs Bunny (French)
Daffy – Patak Daca (Bosnia/Serbia); Dodo Patak (Croatia); Daffy Duck (French)
Tweety – Kanarinac Kica (Serbia); Titi (French); Titii (Italian)
Sylvester – Silvester (Bosnia/Croatia/Serbia); Sylvestre (french); Silvestro (Italian)
Ysam – Ridjobrki (Bosnia); Suljo (Croatia)
Speedy – Brzi Gonzales (Bosnia/Croatia/Serbia)
Befuddled – Milivoj (Bosnia/Croatia); Elmer Fudd (Serbia)
Coyote – Mirko S. Kojotovski (Bosnia); Pera Kojot Genije (Serbia); Willy il Coyote (Italian)
BeepBeep – Ptica Trkacica (Bosnia/Croatia/Serbia); Bip Bip (French/Italian)
Lepew – Pepe (B/C/S)
Ham – Gicko Prasic (Bosnia/Croatia/Serbia); Pallino (Italian)
Marvin – Marvin (B/C/S); Marvin il marziano (Italian)


Tomcat – Tom (B/C/S/FR)
Jerry – Dzeri (B/C/S/FR)


Mickey – Miki Maus (Bosnia/Croatia/Serbia); Topolino (Italian)
Minnie – Mini Maus (Bosnia/Croatia/Serbia); Minni (Italian)
Donald – Paja Patak (Serbia); Pajo Patak (Bosnia/Croatia in ex-YU); Patak Pasko (Croatia today); Paperino (Italian)
Scrooge – Baja Patak (Serbia); Bajo Patak (Bosnia/Croatia in ex-YU); Ujak Tvrdica (Croatia today); Paperon De’ Paperoni (Italian)
Fethry – Caja Patak / Praja Patak (Serbia in ex-YU); Paperoga (Italian)
Goof – Silja (Serbia); Siljo (Bosnia/Croatia); Pippo (Italian)


Sailor – Mornar Popaj (Bosnia/Croatia/Serbia); Sailor Moon (French); Braccio di Ferro (Italian)
Betty – Beti Bup (Bosnia/Croatia/Serbia)
Huey – Bubi (Croatia in ex-YU)
Bluto – Badza (Bosnia in ex-YU); Badzo (Croatia in ex-YU); Kvrga (Serbia in ex-YU)
Olive Oyl – Oliva (Bosnia/Croatia/Serbia); Olivia (Italian) Read more

Coming Soon…Dolphin Translation?

We know that dolphins have extremely advanced communication skills. In captivity, for example, they’ve been able to learn to respond to a large number of verbal commands, and even seem to understand syntax, or how word order determines meaning.

What we’ve not yet been able to do is to have a two-way conversation with them. As the Wild Dolphin Project’s Denise Herzing explained to the New Scientist, researchers have been able to:

“create a system and expect the dolphins to learn it, and they do, but the dolphins are not empowered to use the system to request things from the humans.” Read more

Urinal Drink translation

Translation Higher Priority‎

You’re familiar with the phrase “The customer is always right,” right? Unfortunately, when it comes to translation,newresearchfromTransPerfect shows that businesses aren’t taking that advice to heart.

The survey examined attitudes towards translation among consumers and executives from across the globe. Clear, quality translation was a priority among the respondents who completed TransPerfect’s survey, with 63 percent of the respondents stating that they would be more likely to buy products from websites that have been properly translated into their native languages. When presented with a website with no translation options, consumers were forced to either “make do” with automatic tools like Google translate or to simply give up on the purchase.

The sample size of 200 respondents may seem small, but the results dovetail quite nicely with a survey published by Eurobarometer earlier this summer, which found that 42% of consumers wouldn’t buy a product online if the website was in another language. Really, can you blame them? Not being able to understand the terms and conditions of the website you are buying from is a recipe for poor customer experiences and dissatisfaction. Read more

New Languages Take Tweets in Another Direction

Twitter added four new language options to its translation repertoire last week: Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu. Like the other languages that the popular online messaging service has been translated into, the task was crowdsourced to volunteers via Twitter’s translation center, allowing it to be completed in just a couple of months. Twitter described the process on its blog:

“We first added these four languages to the Twitter Translation Center on January 25. Thirteen thousand volunteers around the globe immediately got to work, translating and localizing into these languages in record time.”

Unlike English (and most of the other languages Twitter has been translated into thus far), these languages are all written and read from right-to-left. Therefore, bringing them to Twitter posed special challenges, requiring more involvement from Twitter engineers and making the short turnaround time even more impressive. As Twitter localization manager Laura Gomez explained to the Los Angeles Times:

“The anatomy of a Tweet by nature can be complex since it often contains a mix of text, links and hashtags. Adding RTL to the mix raises its own technical and design challenges. For this launch, we had to make a number of improvements to ensure Tweets look and behave correctly RTL.”

Twitter is now available in 28 languages, further cementing its role in connecting people both within and across cultures and countries. Several of the countries that use the languages included in this most recent batch of translations have banned Twitter for its role in coordinating protests against authoritarian governments. Some of the volunteers who translated the site had to navigate past government blocks of the service to do so.

However, as Annabelle Sreberny, professor of global media and communications at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, told the BBC, Twitter is an important tool for protesters but it isn’t the only or even the most important one:

“It is just one among a range of tools and platforms that people use. I think the parallel would be the making available of tools to help people blog in Persian in 2002-3 by Hossein Derakshan. His manual on how to blog in the language helped trigger a huge boom in Persian voices on the internet.”

Image Credits: Attribution Some rights reserved by A l i ~ فـرز الـوغـى

It's the year of the snake!

Chinese New Year Celebrations

Chinese New Year, a festive event celebrated by people all around the world (the image above was taken in Yokohama, Japan). As you may well know, the Chinese New Year is represented by one of 12 different animals which cycle annually, the sheep, the monkey, the rooster, the dog, the pig, the rat, the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon and the snake.

Read more

How to Translate Donald Trump

How do you translate a word salad? That’s one question the rise of Donald Trump has interpreters and translators around the world asking themselves. The National Post called the reality TV personality, businessman and US presidential candidate [actual real-life President of the United States now, no really!] “a linguist’s dream” for his “unusual” speech patterns.  I suppose that’s one way to put it.

In this case, a linguist’s dream is an interpreter’s nightmare.  Trump is known for long, rambling, stream-of-consciousness rants that don’t always make sense in English. He’s also prone to (perhaps accidentally) reviving obscure, old words like “braggadocious” and “bigly.”

But, there’s a possibility Trump could become the next president of the United States. So, his speeches are international news. And that means foreign interpreters and translators get to parse sentences like this beauty, from a speech he gave in South Carolina: Read more

K International at Retail Week Live

Localisation at Retail Week Live 2015

24th Retail Week Live – The best yet?

Leading retailers are gearing up for an exciting spring in the English Capital this year. The Hilton London Metropole will be the place to be on March the 11th and 12th as the venue plays host to the renowned exhibition, Retail Week Live, now in its 24th year.  I’m really looking forward to hearing from the industry’s top experts, and of course getting to meet up with a whole host of likeminded driven business leaders.

This year looks set to be a giant year for the exhibition, with more than 1000 attendees expected from all over the world. There should be a good mix of start-ups and elite retailers to give us all some good insights into what’s in store for the future of the retail industry. There are a number of presentations lined up focused on four key themes, The Consumer, The Brand, Retail Strategy and Innovation. I’ve selected a few of the key themes and presentations that I’m most looking forward to below. Read more

Chicago Overcome Olympic Translation Problem

Chicago is bidding to host the 2016 Olympics but they have had to change their official slogan from ‘Stir The Soul’ to ‘Let Friendship Shine’ over problems with mistranslation in some countries.

Mistranslation is quite common; context is easily lost especially in countries such as Japan and China.

Chicago Olympic bid officials are hoping the International Olympic Committee will like their new slogan. Chicago hopes to welcome the world in ‘the spirit of friendship’ in 2016.

Many friendships  are formed at the Olympics, athletes living together in the Olympic village often share tips and experiences. The historic friendship of Jesse Owens and Luz Long is an excellent example of a friendship formed at the games.

The Chicago bid aims to continue to tell many more stories of friendships born out of the Olympics movement. The bid will even be celebrating National Friendship Day on 2nd August 09.

The new slogan will be appearing across the city of Chicago very soon and the host city will be announced in October 2009.

Google adds Hawaiian Language

Web giant Google have added a Hawaiian language version of its search engine.

It was done by Keola Donaghy of the Ka Haka Ula Oke’elikolani college of Hawaiian Language. Keola Donaghy campaigned for 3 years to get Google to produce a Hawaiian version of its search engine. He estimates that it took him 100 hours to complete the translation…. Perhaps he should have used a professional translation company.

The Hawaiian version provides instructions in Hawaiian on Google’s search engine, although you will still find that the results still come back in English.

In order to complete the translation Keola Donaghy provided translations of 2,500 strings, words, sentences and paragraphs used by the search engine.

It’s great to see Google expanding its language options and it’s important they don’t ignore other important languages (such as Welsh).

The Hawaiian version of Google’s search engine is now available on Apples safari browser; it can be accessed by selecting Olelo Hawaii or Hawaiian language inside the system preferences on Apple.

It should be available on all other browsers next week.