Google Babel project aims for real-time translation in phone calls

Remember Google Babel? It was the rumored name of what is now called the rebranded Google+ Hangouts. However, Project Babel still exists, and it deals with language translation. Google is working to turn phones into "universal translators" of sorts, so when you talk into the phone in one language, the person you're calling will hear a real-time translation in their native language.

Speaking with The UK Times, Android VP Hugo Barra says that the project is in its early stages, and the technology is a fews years away as far as being available to the public, but he says that some translations using certain languages has provided "near-perfect" results.

However, the biggest issue is actually background noise that interferes with dialogue, which affects the results of the translation. However, when used in controlled environments where there's no background interference, Barra says that the accuracy of the real-time translations have been "close to 100%".

Google already has a text translation system online, but it leaves much to be desired, since it's not real-time, and it's only text-based for now. However, it supports 71 different languages, with the most recent additions being Bosnian, Cebuano (used in the Philippines), Hmong (South East Asia), Javanese (Indonesia), and Marathi (India).

SOURCE: The UK Times