Sunday, April 14, 2013

Interpreter: hands-free continuous voice-to-voice translation on the web

Speech recognition apps are easy to use but take a lot of attention.  You click a button to start talking, then click it again when you're done.  To hear the translation, you click another button.  That's three clicks per sentence, repeated over and over.

The new Web Speech API (currently supported only by Google Chrome version 25 and above), does continuous speech recognition.  You click a start button, and then talk as long as you like.  It listens and transcribes as you speak.  This makes new kinds of speech-driven interfaces possible.

Interpreter is a hands-free translator made from:

  • Web Speech API for Speech Recognition by Google Chrome Version 25
  • Translation by Bing Translator
  • Text-to-Speech by Google tts

The   app listens for gaps in your speech of a second or more.  The text returned by speech recognition between pauses is submitted for translation.  When the translated text comes back, the app shuts off the microphone to avoid feedback while it plays the translated text chunk.  When the playback is done, it turns on the microphone again to capture the next chunk of speech.  The app also back-translates to the source language.  Back-translation will magnify errors in the original translation, but can be useful if you don't speak the target language.  Click on the title bar to tell the app to read either the translation or the back-translation.


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