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DOCOMO launches real-time phone translation

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© 2012 AFP

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It's gunna suck

2 ( +9 / -7 )

^ haha. So true. Until computers have the processing power of the brain and then can understand context. Translation apps or programs are just gonna suck. I believe 2031 is meant to be the year when singularity will occur. So maybe translation programs will be good around 2025.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Lies lies lies

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

How interesting.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I just copied the first paragraph of this article to a large search engine's translation service: from English to Japanese and back again. The result is fair, but illustrates how meaning can easily become clouded:

"Japan's largest mobile operator, said on Monday that allows people in different languages, some of it to chat on the phone, start the translation service"

One can but wish DOCOMO the best of luck...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yeah, if the coding giant that is Google can only just get it kind of working, some rubbish Docomo programming is not going to get anything close.

This is going to be absolutely awful.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And google is half decent in comparison to others. Will have to give it a test run when it hits the nearest Docomo shelf.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's gunna suck

I wonder how it would translate that.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"Out of sight, out of mind" will come back as "invisible, crazy."

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Machine translation will never replace human translation. Sounds like a lame gimmick that hardly any people will use and will soon be forgotten about. Kind of like Siri.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And then there's Ortsbo

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why they didn't launched it many years ago?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Another useless application, does it make sense to use if it isn't perfect, may be that is the reason its free!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Does anyone not recognise that this will just be a wrapper to the google translate application? Its a few seconds off- as long as it takes Google Translate to recognise the voice, translate it and play it back

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It will be a disaster, full of embarrassing inaccuracies, but I guess we have to start somewhere. Good luck to them...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

... aaaaand still no iphone

yamada-san needs to get his head out of the sand!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"My hovercraft is full of eels !"

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I like Siri

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If it works as well as they tout it will be a real help for international businesses, but somehow I don't think it will be very good.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's gonna suck. (google translator: English to Japanese and back to Japanese to English) I'm going to suck it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let's hope it doesn't use Google translate as basis.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You never know, there could be a time when that could come in useful Bernie :-)

Seriously though, "it's gonna suck" is far removed from English so Google did a good job.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Bernie and Mr Gatto

My google translate page gives "it's gonna suck" -> それは、ガナを吸うだ ->"it's gonna suck".

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If this were successful, I can envision a lot of people losing their jobs.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The application for NTT DOCOMO subscribers will give two-way voice and text readouts of conversations between Japanese speakers and those talking in English, Chinese or Korean with a several-second delay, the firm said.

When did several second delay equal real time? They need to fix the title to say "Docomo launches telephone conversation translation" since it sure as hell isn't realtime (anything more than 100ms and you can tell it's delayed and not realtime, anything more than 500ms and it's annoying to consider calling it realtime, a few seconds and you might as well call it tape delay).

SquidBertOct. 23, 2012 - 12:00PM JST

My google translate page gives "it's gonna suck" -> それは、ガナを吸うだ ->"it's gonna suck".

Bing translate gives you this, which is a bit too formal for my tastes: それは吸うつもりです。

But yes, it is very doubtful they can translate generic slang at all. If you say "it will disappoint me" instead, it gives a much more acceptable (if a bit stiff) translation. My guess is that docomo is intending it to be 100% for business between non-native english speakers and japanese/chinese/korean speakers.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

heyhey we cant laugh at this kinda app. this technology has a potential to get rid off language barrier and rob some professions like lang teachers or translators. i cant wait this will be polished and to become HonnyakuKonnyaku.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is not a plus in my books, and should NEVER be a plus in anyone's. Current translation software is far, far from adequate, and it'll never translate comprehensible language. Just go to Google or any other translation software and the constant use of passive voice in Japanese, as well as any idiomatic expressions, result in nothing but garbage -- and that's if you can understand it. The last email I got from someone using translation software went something like:

"The one that has two sons is currently busy. Please receive the teaching of English. Difficult, but the will place also has a street".

If anything this application will be a detriment to actual learning, save if you want to learn about how poor translation software is in the present.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

codomo: "heyhey we cant laugh at this kinda app. this technology has a potential to get rid off language barrier and rob some professions like lang teachers or translators."

Not for another few decades. What it's going to take is hiring MORE translators to program in the nuances and equivalents of idioms and slang in all languages, and even then it'll be impossible to catch the nuance in most situations. Look at Facebook as an example of being a STEP in the right direction -- they have volunteers from around the world translating into various languages, and it's a whole lot better than using language translation soft. They'll need that kind of system to set up a proper instantaneous translation application or system for the future. But it's going to take a LONG time.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This app is really helpful. Another good it without having to study the words of the other side feel, has been merged with the voice activation level Koguni translated with Google.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

smithinjapanOct. 23, 2012 - 01:57PM JST

Look at Facebook as an example of being a STEP in the right direction -- they have volunteers from around the world translating into various languages, and it's a whole lot better than using language translation soft.

Last I remember Facebook was still using Bing Translator for their posts translations.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Its hard enough when a machine tries to interpret english to english. eg.

What my friend texted:

Coming by ship to see you as invited next week Ring Jude. Bree Allens.

What arrived by voice to text:

Coming by ship to see you as invasion next week. Bring lube The aliens

What?

Needless to say I was surprised when Bree turned up at my door in a taxi.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

FunnybonesupOct. 23, 2012 - 02:39PM JST

What arrived by voice to text:

Coming by ship to see you as invasion next week. Bring lube The aliens

Sounds like a painful probe... Would have been funnier if the transcription was 100% spot on (all hail the alien overlords!)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-20004210 in this report they reckon maybe 80%, you make your own mind up

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actual text/speech: I was having chicken for lunch with my mother. Translated version: I was having my mother with chicken for lunch.

This is really true...that's how these automated computer generated translators work. No thanks...better hire an English teacher!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

One thing that I am kind of ashamed of is that i don't teach the use of these tools in my English lessons. It is like I am teaching arithmatic without training my students in the use of a calculator. My excuse is that a "no calcultor" rule encourages effort and improvement, but I think it is time to be teaching students how to mix and match and make the best use of tools in a hybrid approach. If one writes the right kind of Japanese (always using a subject and an object, using no idioms), one can get Google translate to produce English at a standard above that of most of my students. I usually teach them such techniques in my last class.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

basroil: "Last I remember Facebook was still using Bing Translator for their posts translations."

If there is some sort of instantaneous translation software then I would assume you're correct; I should have clarified. What I meant was that CONTENT is translated by volunteers (of which I am one) for people who wish to change the language of the site. If I switch from English to Japanese, the Japanese available has been made as such through volunteers who put in time to translate. If you write something in English and want it translated into Japanese immediately (or vice-versa) using software, then yes, it's likely as you say.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

smithinjapanOct. 23, 2012 - 07:31PM JST

If there is some sort of instantaneous translation software then I would assume you're correct; I should have clarified. What I meant was that CONTENT is translated by volunteers (of which I am one) for people who wish to change the language of the site. If I switch from English to Japanese, the Japanese available has been made as such through volunteers who put in time to translate.

No, CONTENT is done automatically through Bing. THE USER INTERFACE was done by paid interns, professionals, and others who fool around with the developer tools.

It's like saying the translations this new app were done by volunteers when in fact the app was developed and the content is automatically done.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Well then, there you go, Basroil! The kind of app Docomo is offering will never work well at all, and you'll need paid interns and/or volunteers over a large period of time inputting exactly what a certain idiom infers in different languages, etc. It's better than it used to be, but not by much.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

smithinjapan

dont be negative so much. ofc i dont think that kinda app works perfectly though will give us a chance talking to foreigners who have minor language.

here is a story. my wife who couldnt read and write chinese at all but have tried to chat with them using google translate for discussing her favorite musician or something. have you expected this would enable a decade ago?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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