We have recently blogged about Machine Translation vs. Human Translation. Well, it looks like AT&T are taking machine translation to the next level with their machine interpreter.

A device, which can only be described as similar to the universal translator in Star Trek, was demonstrated at AT&T’s recent Living the Networked Life innovation showcase in New York City. The event was put on by AT&T to display new technologies that one day may make life easier for all of us.

The device uses Watson speech recognition API, the AT&T translator and an app called Spectra. The prototype is available with seven languages: EnglishFrenchGermanItalianSpanishJapanese and Mandarin.

It is our guess that the device will have similar problems to those faced by traditional machine translators. It will also have to address issues encountered by speech recognition software users. It may not be perfect, but it will be interesting to see it in use when/if it is launched. It will likely be helpful in non-business critical interpreting situations where an exact word for word understanding is not 100% necessary.

If you have a business critical interpreting need, ask SanTranslate.