Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How To Improve Mobile Language Translation

A Google R&D post describes a cool new translation application for IPhones. While you are touring, it enables you to text in a word or a phrase and get it instantly translated.
You can translate key phrases such as these:
  • Can you take me to the airport please?
  • How much does it cost?
  • May I have a large coffee please?
This translation tool has a clear need for predictive input. It would be really cool if you could get common phrases displayed quickly by entering a single word: airport, cost, coffee.

However…asking folks questions is only part of the communication hurdle. While mobile, you also need to understand in real time the answers you get – and they are in the same foreign language. 

Suggestion: In addition to providing a phrase translation, display a set of the most common answers. 

This way you may have a good chance of understanding at least part of what a taxi driver, sales person, or waiter says after you ask: ¿Puedo tener un gran cafĂ© por favor?

No comments: