Science fiction has imagined it for decades. Real-time translation Directly to the ear is now possible thanks to the latest developments in artificial intelligence, which allow a smooth dialogue without the language barrier.
At the Consumer Electronics Fair in Las Vegas, ETUC, Several companies promote their devices, more and more sophisticated, so you can converse in different languages with just a small device that fits your hand or wireless headphones that hardly shows.
The headphone "Pilot" Waverly Labs (red, white and black with an elegant design) translate to 15 languages and they cost between 180 and 250 dollars. If both parties have the device, it is possible to speak directly.
During a short demonstration in Las Vegas, an AFP journalist The speaker in French was correctly translated by the earphones of Andrew Ochoa, head of Waverly Labs, a company that was founded in New York in 2014.
On the smartphone of Ochoa, the application has also provided the words in writing, in case it could be useful.
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The device, via the smartphone, "listens to the voice, sends it to the cloud & # 39; transcribes, translates and synthesizes" vocally ", Ochoa explains. few seconds delay. "It's & # 39; consecutive & # 39; translation" and not exactly simultaneously, he adds.
The equipment and programs for translation and interpretation by speech synthesis have recently reached the market because the technology has not been sufficiently developed so far At least two years ago
"We apply the latest functionalities of artificial intelligence, such as machine learning or & # 39; neural network & # 39; (computer system inspired by the connections of the human brain) with translation models, "he explains, while also evoking the enormous advancement of speech recognition.
Now, "these technologies are mature enough to make this possible," says Ochoa, who says so has sold 35,000 pairs of headphones in less than a year, especially hotels, which obviously must be able to communicate with their customers in many languages.
Less discrete, the WT2 headphones from the Chinese company TimeKettle They work in the same way and will also be presented at CES this week.
You do not need a smartphone to use instead Pocketalk, from the Japanese Sourcenext, who, in his view, the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020because "many Japanese only speak Japanese," says Richard Gallagher, communications officer.
According to him, the small device, which looks like a mobile phone of the ancients, can translate 74 languages for $ 299.
"Thanks to automatic learning, you understand better and better when you use it" and "it adapts to the pronunciation" of the user, he continues during a demonstration.
"It is an excellent way to deal with artificial intelligence," he says, saying that they have already been sold 200,000 units. Again, it was the hoteliers who were very interested, but also traders and taxi drivers, among others.
the china iFlytex, a heavyweight in artificial intelligence and speech recognition in Asia, is also present at CES with its Translator 2.0, which translates Chinese into thirty languages and vice versa. The latest model costs about $ 400.
The Dutch Travis, which now covers 100 languages, says it has already sold 120,000 pocket translators. They cost between 200 and 250 dollars.
The powerful Google, very present in the field of translation with its famous software Translate, opened the dance in 2017 with the launch of "Pixel buttons", translators of hearing aids through speech recognition.
At CES, The American giant on Tuesday presented a new translation function by his virtual voice assistant in many products, smartphones or connected speakers, who can now also listen to one language and translate it into another.
The next stage, according to Andrew Ochoa, of Waverly Labs, is the real simultaneous translation, which the technology does not yet allow.