Baidu, the leader among Chinese search engines, presented a portable gadget for translating speech on a time scale close to the real one. With the newest gadget, the Chinese search engine giant gives every tourist a helping hand. Now it would be much easier for tourists to travel to China, Japan, and for Chinese tourists traveling abroad, thanks to this innovative speech translator.
The Chinese web company developed a device that will read the spoken language and automatically translate it into another language. To start the translation process, you simply need to press the large button located in the center of the device and talk into the translator. In principle, the gadget is working similar to the fictional universal translator, which was used by the characters in the Star Trek sci-fi media franchise.
Baidu announced its new speech-translating device on September 19, at the 16th Machine Translation Summit in Nagoya, Japan. During the summit, Wu Hua, a senior researcher at Baidu, noted that using the deep learning model, the device reduces errors and translates the speech with a slight delay in time. Baidu did not announce the price of the device, though Wu said the gadget will enter the market before the end of the year in China and in early 2018 in Japan.
In appearance, the device is smaller than a typical smartphone and weighs about 140 grams. It can also serve as a portable Wi-Fi router and will be compatible with cellular networks in 80 countries, reports Nikkei Asian Review.
While it is currently possible to use various applications for a smartphone, the Baidu translation device, which does not yet have a name, may have some advantages that you should consider. First of all, it will not drain the battery of your smartphone. More importantly, it will always be ready for you, waiting at all times to start working, unlike a mobile application that needs to be opened and configured before you can start using it. Thirdly, the translator will have a built-in Internet connection, which would enable the device to distribute Wi-Fi, another useful feature while traveling abroad.
Baidu plans to launch the sales of the device in China, and, tourists can both buy it and rent it. And this is an excellent option for people who come to China for the first time, on a week or two. The first time after the launch of sales, Baidu is counting on demand among Chinese tourists who like to travel around the world. However, subsequently, the company expects to enter the Japanese market as well.
Such gadgets can soon replace synchronous interpreters. For example, the Waverly Labs headphones - the equivalent of the "Babylonian fish" from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - allow people who speak different languages to communicate without the help of translators or dictionaries. The technology allows you to connect up to 8 people to a conversation. The Mymanu Clik earphones recognize and translate from 37 languages in real time. The Translate One2One device of the Australian startup Lingmo copes with the task offline.
Baidu faces tough competition from both Chinese and international companies. In March of this year, Google, which has been long blocked in China, returned to the market with an updated translation application. On the other hand, iFlyTek, a major voice-recognition company in China, released a similar portable device in 2016.
According to Sixth Thone, Baidu hopes to diversify its advertising revenue, accounting for 85.7% of the company's revenue in the second quarter of 2017, continuing to combine artificial intelligence in areas such as face recognition and self-managed machines.