Science Fiction Dictionary
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Google Translate for iPhone App

The Google Translate App for iPhone is now available in the Apple App Store. The new app can accept voice input in fifteen languages, translate it into the target language, and then speak out loud the newly translated phrase.


(Google Translate for iPhone)

And the app also includes all of the major features of the web app, including the ability to view dictionary results for single words, access your starred translations and translation history even when offline, and support romanized text like Pinyin and Romaji.


(Google Translate for iPhone)

Science fiction fans readily recognize the translator concept. It was used in outer space in such forms as the babel fish from Douglas Adams' 1979 novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the computer translator from William Gibson's 1996 novel Idoru and the communicator discs from Larry Niven's 1976 novel Ringworld.

The original Star Trek series also featured a universal translator. The episode was Metamorphosis, originally aired on November 11, 1967.


(Star Trek Universal Translator)

As far as I know, the first example of an sfnal machine being able to translate and understand speech was the speech rectifier from Hugo Gernsback's 1911 classic Ralph 124c 41 +:

...he at once understood when she said, "Pardon, Monsieur, je ne comprends pas!"

He immediately turned the small shining disc of the Language Rectifier on his instrument till the pointer rested on "French."

"The service mistakes are very annoying," he heard her say in perfect English.

Via Google Blog.

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