What is Speech to Speech Translation?

No longer in the realm of science fiction, the concept of a real-time universal translator is currently in the works as pioneering companies such as Google and Facebook are acquiring and developing technologies that support speech recognition, language translation, and speech synthesis. In 2006, an advancement that led to the development and use of layered models of inputs, termed deep neural networks (DNN), brought speech recognition to its highest level of accuracy yet, clearing the way for speech-to-speech translation. As a result, today’s consumers are habitually interacting with voice-activated virtual assistants on their mobile phones and even in their vehicles with greater ease and comfort. Researchers are now applying DNN to automatic translation engines in efforts to increase the semantic accuracy of interpreting the world’s languages, and Microsoft engineers have already demo-ed software that can synthesize an individual’s own voice in another language, from English to Mandarin. Progress in machine learning technologies is bringing the universal translator closer to the consumer’s hand, and is poised to transform communication and collaboration at the global level.

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1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • fosters global classroom model, which could foster global access to low cost community college courses in USA - mpacansky-brock mpacansky-brock Oct 8, 2013
  • developments in voice-based communication tools (utilizing mobiles) in higher education creates more inclusive learning environments with built-in accommodations for learners with physical and/or cognitive disorders, a demographic that is higher at community colleges in the USA - mpacansky-brock mpacansky-brock
  • (Just "thinking aloud" whether it would be an idea to collapse Real-time Translation and Speech to Speech Translation into one point or whether that would unnecessarily reduce the complexitiy of both issues - helga helga Oct 12, 2013) - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 21, 2013 also agree

  • I agree with helga above, these two topics can be merged. - andrew.barras andrew.barras Oct 17, 2013

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • support for translation of open educational resources - mpacansky-brock mpacansky-brock Oct 8, 2013
  • accommodations/options for disabled learners - mpacansky-brock mpacansky-brock Oct 8, 2013

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • the flattening of the online classroom; a truly global and more inclusive community of learners - mpacansky-brock mpacansky-brock Oct 8, 2013
  • `To truly reailse the potential of MOOCs you need realtime voice translation because it will maximize the possible pool of students. - andrew.barras andrew.barras Oct 17, 2013

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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