Speak To Facebook Chat In Nine Languages, Translated

By Gregory Pleshaw Comment

While we don’t always speak each other’s languages, a new mobile application called SpeechTrans will soon allow Facebook users to be able to chat with each other in up to nine different ones, with automatic translations.

Available for the iPhone or the iPad, the application uses advanced multilingual speech and text recognition software, the service allows for text-to-text, text-to-speech, speech-to-speech and speech-to-text translations in a variety of applications, including Facebook, where users can update their status from within the application.

Users can either type or speak their words into their device, and SpeechTrans will automatically translate the phrase into the destination in both text and speech. User then have the option of modifying their words before sending either just the text, just the speech (as sound files) or both.

The translation software is powered by Nuance, the makers of Dragon Naturally Speaking speech recognition software.

The current application roll-out enables users to converse in either U.S. or U.K. English, plus German, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Russian, and Portuguese. At this time, each language requires its own standalone application, but the company says it’s working on an all-inclusive version that would include all languages in one application.

A visit to the SpeechTrans.com website will get you a free download of the Spanish “lite” version – all other applications can be purchased from the iPhone app store for $9.99 each. Purchasing the application, however, is not the only cost for using the application.

The finance model may make wide adoption of the application slow at first. Complaints are already being made on Apple’s website that the lite version asks users to purchase credits for use of the service. Transcripts can be purchased in packages ranging from 30 to 500, with one transcription defined as a 55 second recording.

SpeechTrans Ultimate is also available for $19.99 and allows for unlimited text chatting within facebook chat. SpeechTrans Ultimate also allows you up to 400 talk-translations on Facebook chat – additional transcriptions are available for $9.99 for 1,500 transcriptions, making Facebook talk chat the preferred platform for the application in terms of price.

Now we’ve seen glitches in other forms of speech-to-text software and also translation applications — although former has much greater accuracy problems — so we couldn’t help noticing this comment about the vendor on the iPhone app store: “Do not buy! You get nothing You are being ripped off, it works a couple times then you’re supposed to pay even more. Filed complaint with Apple.”

Still, Yahoo Finance has already hailed SpeechTrans as the application of the week, and another recent boost included an invitation to SpeechTrans to attend the Pentagon’s Language Conference.

What might drive the use of this product more than the language barriers of war, however, are the language barriers of love. Sure, you might win over a client with such a device — but think of the whole new world of people you can could talk to at say, bars and discos. For some things, there’s just no price tag too high.

What do you think about the possibility of voice-to-text Facebook chat with translation to other languages?