Language Translation (software & hardware)

Voice translators. Has anyone had experience with these and could point me in the right direction to purchase a reliable one.
I need it to have Hindi & Urdu languages

3 Likes

Still comparatively early days, but Google translate on a mobile offers that feature. Caveat I have not tried it in any language in real time conversation where I knew nothing at all about the language, and some text translations can be fun and amusing as well as embarrassing when interacting with a native speaker.

original was Japanese conversation -
Japanese: Why are you talking about gold mines now?
me: I thought I was asking how your wife was…

7 Likes

As Phil (@PhilT) said, Google Translate. Its free and it works reasonably well. We had a Japanese lodger for a while who spoke very basic English (compared to our zero Japanese). We used Google Translate to communicate when we couldn’t understand each other. I have also used it to translate correspondence (cut and paste into and from Translate) from a wide range of languages.

While it appears to be able to handle Hindi & Urdu, have a look at the following links to see how well it handles those languages.

https://www.quora.com/As-of-2017-how-accurate-is-Google-translate-for-Indian-languages

https://www.quora.com/Why-do-Hebrew-Persian-Pashto-and-Urdu-languages-lack-romanisation-on-Google-Translate-while-Arabic-Hindi-Chinese-and-many-other-languages-include-that-option

Also, if you decide to use Google Translate make sure you download the languages to your smart phone so you can work off-line if needed.

6 Likes

I also agree with the above about Google Translate, the other benefits is it is free and it can also do live translation of text (such as restaurant menus etc)…this function not perfect but works okay.

2 Likes

Forgot to mention that with some languages (it worked in Japanese) you can point the phone’s camera to text and you can see a Google translation superimposed.

The quality of, and ability to translate varies considerably depending on what you are trying to read and how still you can hold the camera. (With the Japanese kanji, some of the translations changed even with very subtle movements of the camera.)

I haven’t looked to see whether the camera function is available in Hindi & Urdu.

3 Likes

That matches how spoken Japanese changes with Very subtle differences (to the western ear) in pitch and inflection! Amazing they were able to replicate it with the camera features :rofl:

4 Likes

Like me trying to match one or more Kanji to the dictionary, they all start to look very much alike after a while. Perhaps Google is more human than we give them credit for? :rofl:

Context may also be important, in determining what a character or sequence of characters represent in Japanese. This may also be what Google is guessing at?

Or!!!

It is worth considering this observation is not unique to Japanese writing. In reverse from English to other languages we use many words where meaning requires context.

Eg “bar” for drinking at, in a river crossing, to ban, something to lever with. Also sounds a lot like ‘baa’.

Verbal translation from English is likely even more complex than that of the task of translating written scripts such as Japanese? Consider all the regional and social variations in accents across spoken English.

While we generally seem to be able to adapt to variations in how a word sounds, many other languages are far more subtle and concise.

Perhaps we are individually lucky that Esperanto did not catch on.
Or more importantly Google translate is fortunate that it did not!

1 Like