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Where’s Real Time Translation on Phones?

by Tom Moccia | November 10, 2010November 10, 2010 6:00 pm PDT

With so many technological advances in the mobile electronics industry it is easy to be wowed at the sheer ability of these devices. Our phones can do everything including getting us to our our favorite restaurant, ordering our meal and even paying the bill via some virtual terminal. I use my phone for just about everything and my kids have even implemented it as a learning device.

Recently, I have come across a function that today’s high tech smart phones can’t do: real time language translation. A friend of mine had relatives visiting from Italy and, of course, we wanted to have them see the sights in the great city of San Francisco. The problem lies in that with a large group of people they tend to want to go their own direction. Needless to say, the non-English speaking Italians went out on their own with a friends cell phone.

340x_languagesThe problem lies in the situation when I needed to contact them via phone and we could not understand each other. This got me thinking, when the iPhone was first released one of the big applications advertised was an app the translated Mandarin. This is all fine and dandy but why can’t phones translate in different languages on the fly?

How great would it be to have two people that speak different languages communicate via telephone all while the language is being translated in real time? This would not only change the mobile device landscape, but have further reaching effects on the way people conduct business.

What prevents this technology from being Implemented? It surely can’t be technological limitations, can it? Maybe it’s lack of profitability in that realm, but honestly, carriers charge us for every little benefit as it is so I can’t imagine this being the case.

Readers, I want to know your thoughts on why this seemingly potential technology has been ignored? How would you implement real time translation on cell phones or, for that matter any telephony communication? I want your ideas and feedback.

Tom Moccia

Tom Moccia is a native of Stamford, Connecticut and moved his family west in 2000 and now calls Stockton, California home with his wife and two...