Last year, Google upgraded its Translate web service to include real-time translation while you type. Clicking on sound icons will “speak” the words and phrases via a computerized voice. In December, QuestVisual released Word Lens, an iPhone app that uses the mobile device’s video camera to instantly translate words from one language to another. The Word Lens introductory video kept jaw-dropped viewers in awe for days.
Most recently, Google was once again making Internet buzz with its new Translate app for Android mobile phones. Hands free this time, the app features actual voice translations. You speak in one language and the phone says it back to you in another.
Will it be that one day we may not need a professional translator or interpreter? Will digital translation technology eventually become advanced enough to replicate regional dialects of Spanish speaking nations?
However impressive these tools may be, it is important to note that language does not equal cultural relevance. While I have no doubt Word Lens has the potential to help tourists navigate through zona hotelera in Cancun, creating an effective marketing communications campaign will still require an extensive amount of professional human assistance.