MASTOR Provides Real-Time Speech Translation

MASTOR (Multilingual Automatic Speech-to-Speech Translator) is an IBM research application that can dynamically translate English speech to Mandarin Chinese speech. You could speak English into a microphone at a conference, and the system will translate the sentence into Mandarin Chinese, and say it out loud in real time.

MASTOR's translations are based on statistical analysis of the language; the source sentence is decompiled into a set of conceptual ideas. Then, the translated sentence is constructed in the target language, based upon these conceptual ideas. The current version runs on a PC running Windows XP and CE (which means it could be run on a PDA). It will not be available to consumers for at least six months.

Real-time speech translation is an enabler for a variety of ideas that have been pure science fiction up until recently. For example, it implies that you have solved the problem of accurately understanding the spoken word. In the mid-sixties, IBM speech translation software worked 84 seconds for every real second of speech - and didn't have the accuracy or range.

Speaking of the mid-sixties, the original Star Trek series featured a universal translator. The episode was Metamorphosis, originally aired on November 11, 1967.


(Star Trek Universal Translator)

A good example of a realistically portrayed, real-time speech translation (and reply) device is the translator disc from Larry Niven's 1976 novel Ringworld:

"...I assume we are all wearing our communicator discs?"

Louis wore his inside his left wrist. The discs were linked to the autopilot aboard the Liar. They should work over such a distance, and the Liar's autopilot should be able to translate any new language...

...Presently the discs were filling in words and phrases... His voice was almost a chant, almost a recital of poetry. The autopilot was translating Louis's words into a similar chant, though it spoke to Louis in a conversational tone.
(Read more about Larry Niven's communicator discs)

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

For other science fictional (yet real!) devices, take a look at the LingoPhone and the Phraselator P2 (in use in Iraq). Take a look at IBM Strives for 'Superhuman' Speech Tech; saw this one on /.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/26/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Communication ")

Soli Gesture Tech Will Be In Google Pixel 4
'I enjoy watching this way, but - He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.' - Philip K Dick, 1955.

Lost Language Meanings Found By Machine Learning
'The autopilot would need data before it could begin a translation...' - Larry Niven, 1970.

The Future Of Elon Musk's Neuralink
'Cerebral Electromagnetic Emmission Amplification and Relay System call it artificial telepathy, if you like.' - Richard Meredith, 1969.

BloxVox Mutes Cellphone Convos
'had he not been talking into a hush-a-phone which he had plugged into the telephone jack...' - Robert Heinlein, 1940.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

CAV-X Supercavitating Ammo Deadly Underwater
'...in the midst of this fluid, which is very dense compared with the atmosphere, shots could not go far.'

Space Domes Over-rated? Science Fiction Authors Have Answers
'This was to be roofed over, sealed, and an atmosphere provided...'

Injectable Magnetic Fluid Slows Bleeding, Aids Magneto
'There's something different about you.'

Autonomous Wheelchairs Improve Airport Mobility
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'

HVSD, Kitty Hawk's Electric Plane
Very quiet commuter plane offers VTOL service.

Frictionless Toilet Could Save 140 Billion Liters Of Water
'The bowl was a frictionless surface...'

Viisights AI Hones Video Surveillance
'The math boys worked it out...'

Cybertruck The Solar-Powered Steel Tortoise
'It drew its power from... sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

Road Noise Charges Electric Cars With Peugeot Piezoelectric Billboard
''... major cities of Earth have free electrical power conveniently processed from their own noise.'

Unsinkable Metal Latest Gates Obsession
'A metal... light as cork.'

M-Blocks 2.0 Self-Assembling Robots
'Faster the cubes moved...'

NASA 'Broomstick' Recalls SciFi Ideas
'The appearance was enough like a giant witch's broom to justify the nickname.'

Orbital Display's Low Earth Orbit Advertisements
'A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk.'

Neuromorphic Computing Hardare
'He had constructed an organ, a brain, of metal, entirely inorganic and lifeless...'

Vascularized Human Skin 3D Printed
Hey Fishboy!

Trillionaires Still Earth-Bound
'I shall never forget the sight... when the yellow gleam of the precious metal appeared under the star dust.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.