Real-time translator could be the end of awkward foreign language interactions

<img class=”alignleft wp-image-756″ src=”×150.png” alt=”Real-time translator” width=”111″ height=”111″ />One problem with Marshall McLuhan’s “Global Village” is that not everyone is on an equal footing in terms of communication — while English has become the de facto language of the internet, the world is still multilingual. However, there are companies striving to provide a seamless link between businesses and consumers who speak different tongues.

One product making moves to solve this problem this year was SIGMO, a palm-sized device that translates speech into 25 different languages and relays it as audio, enabling real-time two-way communication between users of different nationalities. SIGMO broke its Indiegogo funding target in spectacular style in October, eventually raising just shy of USD 250,000 from an initial aim of USD 15,000.

While instant translation tools are useful for consumers of all kinds, ELSA is another device that uses remote human translators to provide on-demand translations for emergency services dealing with immigrants and other diaspora. Both SIGMO and ELSA could help real-time translation go big in 2014.


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