Photo: Pakutaso
tech

AI translation company Rozetta bars staff from speaking a foreign language at work

27 Comments
By Dale Roll, SoraNews24

AI technology has come a long way in the last decade, becoming useful in a wide variety of fields, including cooking, modeling, and even drawing manga. But we haven’t really seen it come to such impressive lengths that it can change the nature of human interaction–at least, not until now.

Japanese company Rozetta has created an AI-powered machine translation service that completely eliminates the need for people to know each others’ languages in order to communicate. With their goal of liberating humanity from the limitations of language, they’ve been working for years to create an efficient, accurate, and flexible translation system that can be used in a variety of ways, and they’ve come close to perfecting it.

Rozetta primarily offers two different machine translation services: for written documents and for audio. They claim that their document translation service is “on-par with professional translators” and is “up to 95 percent accurate”, with coverage in over 2,000 industries. This software is used on Rozetta’s very own website, which doesn’t have a human-translated English version; after you load it up, it will automatically switch to English without changing the URL. All of the English text on their website is surprisingly natural, not anything like the kind of results you’d get from a free service like Google Translate.

But Rozetta’s pinnacle achievement is probably its “Onyaku” service, a conference speech translation tool capable of interpreting people’s speech in real time. Check out this video, which demonstrates Onyaku’s ability to accurately capture English speech, even with a strong accent, and translate it into Japanese almost immediately.

Having reached this level of accomplishment in the field of machine translation, Rozetta believes that they have managed to create a “Free Language World”, eliminating the need for individuals to learn multiple languages, or to be held back by the fact that they can only speak one. That’s why they’ve banned all of their employees from speaking any language but their native one; to communicate with staff and clients in another language, employees must use the company’s online “Free Language” services, like Onyaku, which has a mobile version as well as a PC version, and their Virtual Reality Office, which is demonstrated below with two Chinese speakers and a Japanese speaker.

▼ There’s no English in this video, but you can see how the program interprets and translates the Chinese audio quickly and efficiently, even when multiple people are speaking at the same time.

In fact, the company released a full memorandum banning employees from speaking a foreign language, which is somewhat misleadingly titled “Order to Ban English [Order to Ban Foreign Languages]”. It was presumably sent to all employees, but it was also published as a press release for all to see. It declares that the rule was put into place in order to alleviate any limitations based on language that can affect productivity or cause strain on employees. Those who work hard but can’t speak English and as a result get sidelined, engineers who are good at what they do but can’t speak Japanese, staff who can speak a moderate amount of English but only understand about half of what happens at a meeting, and those who can speak a foreign language but are forced to do translation work instead of their actual job should all find that they are no longer limited by their language abilities with Rozetta’s Onyaku service.

By eliminating the need for employees to have to speak a foreign language, Rozetta appears to believe they will level the playing field, giving all employees equal opportunities to work efficiently and smartly without worrying about language barriers.

According to the website, Onyaku also works on most online meeting services like Zoom, Teams and Skype, making teleworking and international business easy, too.

“It’s been a long time coming, but the dark days are over,” the memorandum says. “Just like race and gender, the ability to speak English has nothing to do with your ability to do your job.”

The news was pretty exciting for Japanese netizens, who generally thought it impressive that Rozetta’s technology has achieved such a level of competence, and were touched by the company’s policy toward multilingualism:

“So this kind of society exists, huh? It’s about 50 years earlier than I thought it would be. I wonder if we’ll be a totally ‘free language’ world in my lifetime.”

“I thought they were bad guys for a second but it turns out they’re good guys. Haven’t seen good news like this in Japan in a while.”

“This is really amazing. I’m really impressed by how straightforwardly they’re taking on this issue.”

“The return of the Tower of Babel, huh…”

“This is a world that if the electricity goes out, we’ll all die.”

It’s a marvel that they’ve managed to make it so far that they don’t need their employees to speak a specific language for the company to function, and it is pretty exciting to think of what this could mean for future international business ventures and travel. Perhaps, with any luck, we might all be able to freely communicate with people all over the world, without worrying about language barriers, within this very lifetime! Since technology like the mask that can translate eight languages is already on the market, it’s only a matter of time before accurate machine translation services like Rozetta’s are widely available to the general population in an easy-to-use format.

Source: PR Times via My Game News Flash, Rozetta

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japanese company develops “smart mask” that translates speech to eight languages

-- People are really excited about that ‘Doraemon-like’ translating megaphone

-- What’s wrong with English education in Japan? Pull up a chair…

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

27 Comments
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That Onyaku ai translator sounds like Elmer Fudd

10 ( +10 / -0 )

That Onyaku ai translator sounds like Elmer Fudd

No, it is a Japanese person (probably works for Rozetta) speaking and the speech is being translated in real-time.

From the article:

Check out this video, which demonstrates Onyaku’s ability to accurately capture English speech, even with a strong accent, and translate it into Japanese almost immediately.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Pretty cool.

I still take pride in my Japanese speaking, reading and writing abilities. All of which benefited greatly from apps and other tech.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The Japanese man in the second video asks very typical questions Japanese like to ask. Is there in your country? The in your country is not the same as in Japan’s is it?

If you’re trying to get the inside track with a Japanese, lay it on thick. Say there is nothing like this your country. They love to hear that.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

I'm supposed to trust a company that doesn't know the difference between translate and interpret?

15 ( +15 / -0 )

And what about the other benefits of learning a second language, like reduction of dementia, improvement of communication and social skills, etc?

Also, speaking a second language is a skill you choose to develop/not develop, not something you're born with, like race or sex, as their marketing team is suggesting.

I'm not against this software, but seems like their sales team isnt giving the full picture.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

speech recognition and AI translation is pretty common, this service is not doing anything new.

there's better alternatives. check this one.

https://www.deepl.com/translator

11 ( +11 / -0 )

jokes on them as jobs are automated away anyway. Languages is one thing we can all do, becaues we all have.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The 5% wrong are usually doozies.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Language and communication are deeply embedded in culture which means that only the bare linguistic bones can be automated; the culture component can only be acquired through accretion after years of personal experience and study. The rewards of learning a language only come then when you become intimately acquainted with the history and culture of another country and its people. The future of AI looks promising and will certainly bring benefits to mankind, but it can never replace the hard work required for face-to-face communication and a true understanding of people who grew up speaking a foreign language in a different society.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

“It’s been a long time coming, but the dark days are over,” the memorandum says. “Just like race and gender, the ability to speak English has nothing to do with your ability to do your job.”

What kind of shiftless thinking is that?!? I would much rather work with/hire someone who has actually made the effort of learning English than lazy people who rely on AI for their work.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

I think the Management wants to know what all employees are talking about to keep in control of the office environment.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

No more need to learn a second language?? I was in deep, darkest hyogo prefecture today with my son at a ski resort. The old dude running the lift had a great time using the english he had learnt along the way in his many years of life to have a simple chat with my son. Priceless. Can't imagine the situation where he says ' please wait till I get my rosetta software app running ( in Japanese). These companies stupidly want us to believe we will all have access to their software everywhere and all the time and will want to use it. Good luck with that.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

@quercetum

The Japanese man in the second video asks very typical questions Japanese like to ask. Is there in your country? The in your country is not the same as in Japan’s is it?

> If you’re trying to get the inside track with a Japanese, lay it on thick. Say there is nothing like this your country. They love to hear that.

You're spot on there. It's embarrassing.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

samuraivunyl:

please wait till I get my rosetta software app running

It's Rozetta, NOT to be confused with Rosetta Stone, the language learning software. How on earth did they manage to get away with such a similar name?

What kind of shiftless thinking is that?!? I would much rather work with/hire someone who has actually made the effort of learning English than lazy people who rely on AI for their work.

Too right. It's not as if it's that strange to be able to speak multiple languages - just ask educated people from Europe, India, even Chinese-speaking places, etc.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

No relation to Rosetta Stone?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A world without language barriers will be beautiful. Are you so pained by the end of the domination of Western civilization, which in the world was significantly only for a short period? Not everyone in the world was born in Europe, and this is a factor that makes learning English a lot easier

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

Better pronunciation needed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So translation/interpretation will no longer be a business? Lots of people out of work, but that's technology.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Has a user at times, the translations are far from perfect and sometimes way off. Interpreters still needed.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

If they are banned from using a foreign language, why is Mr Hashimoto in the video not speaking in Japanese?

Is this software designed to make his kind of thick Japanese English understandable? I had trouble understanding him and was surprised that the computer could make a spot decision on whether he said 'too' or 'tool', for example.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

 I had trouble understanding him and was surprised that the computer could make a spot decision on whether he said 'too' or 'tool', for example.

Amazon's Alexa is surprisingly good at understanding Engrish as well.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So now there is no reason not to hire foreigners in large numbers and put them in leadership positions.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

can they translate "harro" ?

just wondering...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

can they translate "harro" ?

Whassup?!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well, it has been some improvements for sure. But the only time I saw the translation through Microsoft Teams, it was a crap. A machine can not translate a specific language, technical language used within a group whose members are used to these specific words

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd like to see how this AI translates idioms and colloquial language.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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