What is Speech to Speech Translation?


No longer in the realm of science fiction, the concept of a real-time universal translator is currently in the works as pioneering companies such as Google and Facebook are acquiring and developing technologies that support speech recognition, language translation, and speech synthesis. In 2006, an advancement that led to the development and use of layered models of inputs, termed deep neural networks (DNN), brought speech recognition to its highest level of accuracy yet, clearing the way for speech-to-speech translation. As a result, today’s consumers are habitually interacting with voice-activated virtual assistants on their mobile phones and even in their vehicles with greater ease and comfort. Researchers are now applying DNN to automatic translation engines in efforts to increase the semantic accuracy of interpreting the world’s languages, and Microsoft engineers have already demo-ed software that can synthesize an individual’s own voice in another language, from English to Mandarin. Progress in machine learning technologies is bringing the universal translator closer to the consumer’s hand, and is poised to transform communication and collaboration at the global level.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • I see huge potential in speech-to-speech recognition. In a society where large groups of immigrants and refugees, in this case school children, quickly need to be able to interact socially and to continue to learn in school, this technology can be essential for their success. - Anna.Carlsson Anna.Carlsson Nov 14, 2016
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • If this technology is developed to cover more languages than today, than the impact on students studying in countries where they do not yet speak the language could be enormous. Not just in short term, but also in a long term social perspective. - Anna.Carlsson Anna.Carlsson Nov 14, 2016
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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