We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
This is an iPhone app, soon to be available for other smart phones. Home site is here. The app is free, languages cost five bucks apiece. They only have Spanish-English at the moment, but converting other languages should be a snap at this point.
What's particularly impressive about this is that it's the quintessential case of the entrepreneur's axiom, find a need and fill it. Check out the second video on the site for the background story.
A truly marvelous invention, and sure beats the hell out of having to look up "ADVERTENCIA!GRAVESDE DERRAMESDE RADIACIÓN! DOS PASOS MÁS Y SE MUERE!" ("WARNING! SEVERE RADIATION LEAK! TWO MORE STEPS AND YOU'RE DEAD!") in the translation book.
"Ad-ver-ten-see-a? Why would there be an advertisement way out here? Should we look it up in the translation book?"
I was able to make out your example but then I know a little Spanish and French.
It reminds me of getting around in Germany. Gefahr and Lebensgefahr mean Danger and Life-Danger. Much of German is similar to English, of course. So I'd just get the idea that something was likely to kill me and I'd hit a word like "Hubschrauber". I had no idea what a "hubschrauber" was. The sign was in front of a US helicopter landing pad, though, plus it was also in English, so I caught on.
Now the Korean signs were really no help to me. The Han-gul is entirely phonetic, once you learn it, but I had to go one character at a time to make it out. No help in Seoul at 45 mph with a woman in labor in the back of the ambulance.
What is truly amazing about this is it photoshop's the correct words directly into the image. How long before our cameras photoshop our idealized images into our photos? And I don't mean at the computer but on site and in context and well posed and . . .
Of course then our videos will need the same treatment. And how about they substitute in Paris for that shot on Lower Wacker Drive, and a really nice car instead of my '72 Ford Pinto wagon?
Bag the translation I want the AutoPhotoShop feature.
Then again how long before all glasses have this feature built in? And they become Beer Goggles without the beer!!! And . . .
"Then again how long before all glasses have this feature built in?"
The way I see it, the first thing we need is for those scientist guys to finally invent that invisibility cloak they keep promising.
Then we use the software's optical recognition system built into the eyeglasses to only scan the room for a certain proportion of body measurements of the room's occupants. When it spots said body with the requisite proportions, in lays the invisibility cloak filter over any cloth barriers in the way. How simple does it get?
Pardon my skepticism, but I doubt the ability of computers to translate languages will ever be more than partial. Some reasons:
Errors may be present. Consider the German, "Der Hund beisst den Mann," and "Den Mann beisst der Hund." Both mean the same: the dog bites the man. But "Den Mann beisst den Hund" is untranslatable because a small error strips away all clues as to who is biting whom.
Some utterances may evade the most sophisticated programs. One such is, "Die Frau beisst die Katze." It's correct and also untranslatable, because there is no clue as to its meaning. Only through context and tone of voice and emphasis could we understand whether the woman bit the cat.
In some languages, the expression "He saw her" is exactly the same as "He sees her," and the tenses of English simply don't square with the ways temporal sequences are clarified. How would a computer know how to supply the necessary definite and indefinite articles, when translating from a language that has none into English?
The last time I tested a computer program to see whether it could translate a simple text, the result was chaotic, useless nonsense. Yet the original and target languages were closely related.
The human brain appears to be a digital computer, but no one has explained how it created and uses language. Meaning itself remains a mystery.