Breaking the Language Barrier

Press Release, March 3, 2008


Shoot & Translate turns mobile phones into translators

Warning: gifts, false friends and Rocky Mountain oysters

At the CeBIT 2008 trade fair, Munich's language technology specialist Linguatec presented the global innovation Shoot & Translate, the first photo translation programme for mobile phones, smartphones and PDAs. Our mobile phone is our constant companion through all of life's endeavors. When used in combination with the translation software Shoot & Translate, it becomes the practical translator that's always at hand when we need it.


Computer translation software has established itself a useful aid for understanding foreign languages. But what happens when you're on the go and don't have a computer at your disposal? That's exactly when you need a translator the most. The makers of Shoot & Translate realized this and went straight to work. Their solution: the first photo translation software for mobile phones. The software works in three simple steps: take a picture, scan the text, and translate. There is even the option to have the text read aloud.


The on-the-spot aid for vacations and business trips

Time and again, we are faced with situations where knowing Latin can't help us out. Whether it's a newspaper headline or a sign post forest, it's the so-called "false friends" that are especially confusing. False friends are words that look the same in different languages but have different meanings. For example, the German word "Gift" means "poison" in English, and therefore has nothing to do with the Christmas season or birthdays. And, what would a German say when seeing the word "rappel" written on French speed limit signs, a word that means "madness" in his own language? Do the French just add the word "rappel" because the driver goes mad when having to deal with slower traffic? The German driver quickly pulls out his mobile phone, takes a picture of the sign and everything becomes clear: "rappel" simply means "reminder," because the sign is repeated as a reminder every so many meters or kilometers. The French place great importance on precise information.


How does the text get into the mobile phone?

Any text can, of course, be entered into the phone manually using the keypad. However, when you don't know the foreign language that you're dealing with very well, entering and spelling the foreign words can become a tiresome and tedious task. Shoot & Translate offers a very practical alternative: It uses the picture-taking function of your mobile phone. You just take a picture with the camera. The text from the picture is extracted and recognized using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software and is then translated automatically. In the process, the tested and proven SmartTranslationTM Technology of Linguatec's Personal Translator is used. Of particular significance is SmartCorrect's correction function, which can even handle typos in menus. For instance, it can correctly recognize "raost beefe snadwitch" as being "roast beef sandwich." What is more, the software can even read the result to you out loud. The voice output of Linguatec's own Voice Reader ensures excellent playback quality.


Eating off the menu...sure you know what you're getting?

A traveler giving a clueless, somewhat shy look at a menu that he can't understand is the classic scenario for someone on vacation. Do you trust yourself when ordering a new and completely unknown dish – even when the waiter is trying to convince you that it is extremely delicious? You should be able to decide that for yourself. After all, who would really want to accidently end up eating the testicles of a bull or sheep? Well, that's exactly what would happen if someone ordered "Rocky Mountain Oysters" off of an American menu. So much for tasty morsels of seafood!


Award-winning translation technology goes mobile

For over 10 years, Linguatec has been developing top-class translation solutions for computers and the Internet. "The current trend is obvious: Mobile phones and smartphones are becoming increasingly important in everyday life. For this reason, it is clear that a translation function also needs to be made available on mobile terminal devices. The brilliant idea associated with this concept is the seamless integration of techologies," says Dr. Reinhard Busch, CEO of Linguatec, as he explains the interaction of the language technologies (text recognition, automatic translation and voice output) used in the new software. "Now, everyone with a mobile phone can have a translator with them at all times and can confidently leave their dictionary at home. All they have to do is make sure that their phone is always charged."


About Linguatec:
Linguatec GmbH is the leading provider of language technology software in Germany. The core product fields are automated translation, speech recognition and voice output. Linguatec is the only company to have won the European Information Technology Prize three times.


Press contact:
Linguatec Sprachtechnologien GmbH
Elisabeth Bauer
Gottfried-Keller-Str. 12 · 81245 Munich
Tel.: 089-896664 152· Fax: 089-88 91 99 33
e.bauer@linguatec.de
www.linguatec.de



Contact at the CeBIT trade fair:
March 4-9, 2008 in Hannover, Germany
We can be found in Hall 3, Booth E55.


Please inform us in the event of publication. Thank you.
Press release as PDF



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