Breaking the Language Barrier

Press release, 04. August 2008

Linguatec has developed the first photo translation tool for mobile phones

Winner of Top Innovator 2009 Award

In Shoot & Translate, Linguatec is introducing to the market the first translation programme for mobile phones, which is even capable of translating photos. In Atlanta, the Munich-based language technology expert won a prize for this product innovation in the category “Most Innovative Consumer Application” which was awarded by the GSM Association.

Linguatec has long been known for its innovative language technology programmes in the areas of automatic translation, speech recognition and voice output. Making its core technologies available on mobile platforms was thus clearly the next step.

Immediate translation assistance while on vacation

“It has happened to all of us: you're on vacation abroad and you see a sign that you would really like to know the meaning of. Sometimes you are just interested in knowing what it means but there are also times when being able to understand a sign can be extremely important, e.g. a warning sign”, Dr. Reinhard Busch, CEO at Linguatec, explains the basic concept behind the idea. Not to mention restaurant menus! After all, visiting a restaurant is not just about satisfying our hunger, but also about being able to enjoy the culinary delights on offer.

A well thought out interplay of individual components

Shoot & Translate provides immediate help in these situations: as cameras are built into the phones, tourists can take a photo of the text they do not understand, a text recognition (OCR) tool scans the image and extracts the text which is then translated and can even be read aloud. “This type of automatic text entry is particularly helpful if you are a stranger to the language,” emphasizes Dr. Reinhard Busch. And there is no need to go through the tedious and error-prone process of typing in characters one by one.

International awards

Shoot & Translate is a highly practical application and transforms your mobile phone into your own personal interpreter. This could also be seen at the GSM Association, the international association of GSM Mobile phone providers, which awarded Linguatec the title of “Top Innovator 2009” for this application. The clarity and high practicality of the concept were the reasons it was selected. Also regarded as extremely positive was the fact that the translation takes place so quickly, almost as if it is “shot from a pistol”. Also a component of the programme is the extensive dictionary which – with over 500,000 entries – can be used separately. Shoot & Translate is compatible with Java and Internet-enabled mobile phones and Smartphones with a camera of at least 1.9 megapixels. A list of compatible devices is available on the Internet: Six language pairs are available: English-German and French-German as well as English combined with Spanish, French, Italian or Portuguese. Shoot & Translate is now available in shops or can be obtained directly from Linguatec at a price of €49 per pair.

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.

About the GSM Association:
Die GSM Association (GSMA) is an international trade association representing more than 750 GSM mobile phone providers worldwide. The Board of Management of the GSM Association is made up of representatives from the leading mobile phone providers, e.g. AT&T, China Mobile, Orange, Telefonica Moviles, T-Mobile and Vodafone. The aim of the GSMA is to ensure that mobile phone devices and wireless services function worldwide and are easily accessible to everyone, thus increasing the value for individual customers and the economy of a country.

Press contact:
Linguatec Sprachtechnologien GmbH
Ms Elisabeth Bauer
Gottfried-Keller-Straße 12 · 81245 Munich
Tel.: 089-896664 152· Fax: 089-88 91 99 33

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