Language no barrier for Japanese translation specs

Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:29am EST
 
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TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - It's the latest in eyewear for the linguistically challenged: Japanese computer-maker NEC has created a pair of glasses that double as a translator.

The Tele Scouter integrates spectacle frames with a personal mini-computer and a head-mounted display unit, allowing two or more people with no language in common to hold a conversation.

Conversations are, with the press of a button, recorded and sent to a remote server where they are analyzed and translated.

The server then sends the translation to the receiving user who can read the words in their own language on the display unit.

While the technology is still in its developmental stages, NEC says a faster unit is on the horizon and that the aim is to break down language barriers.

"With this you don't have to think about having to translate your own words," said NEC manager Kotaro Nagahama.

"All you have to do is speak and you don't have to do any thinking. You just use your own language," he told Reuters.

But Tele Scouter will not be cheap. When it reaches the market it will sell for around $83,000 although the price will come down over time.

If all goes according to plan, NEC says foreign tourists will one day, with great confidence be able to tell their hosts "I see what you're saying."

(Reporting by Chris Meyers; Editing by Miral Fahmy)