Google’s real-time translation tech could be huge
If only Joey Vento had lived to see the day.
The former owner of Geno’s Steaks, one of Philadelphia’s most famous places for cheesesteak, placed a sign in his store in 2008 that read, “This is America: When Ordering ‘Please Speak English.’”
Mr. Vento, who said he had never refused to serve anyone who didn’t speak English, put the sign up to address the large numbers of immigrants — primarily Hispanics and Asians — who were moving into the area around Geno’s at the time. While the sign remained up until 2016, a father’s last wish that Mr. Vento’s son honored after his death in 2011, today there would be little need for it if press reports about Google’s Pixel Buds are true
Google’s new product, as Engadget reports, is right out of Douglas Adam’s “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy” trilogy. In the books, characters insert a device knows as a Babel Fish into their ear canals and are thereby able to instantly translate what others are saying regardless of the language spoken. Google’s wireless Pixel Buds offer instant translations between 40 different languages.
Pixel Buds wearers are able to activate real-time translations by holding the right earbud and saying, “Help me speak” whatever language they need. The translation is played out loud via the user’s Google Pixel 2 smartphone for others to hear. The device then translates replies back into the earbuds. According to Engadget, “there appeared to be virtually zero lag time during the translation,” during Google’s demonstration of the new product.
Google Pixel Buds are priced at $159.
- Google Pixel Buds—wireless headphones that help you do more – Google
- Google Pixel Buds – Google Store
- Google’s Pixel Buds translation will change the world – Engadget
- ‘Speak English’ Signs Can Stay in Philly Shop – RetailWire
- Famously divisive ‘speak English’ sign pulled from Philadelphia cheesesteak shop – The Washington Post
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How might real-time translation technology affect communication in the years ahead? What effects will it have on retail businesses, not only with customers, but between members of the workforce?