Information Systems Integration – Tony Messina

Babel-Fish Earbuds

Google has created a pair of earbuds called Pixel Buds that allow users to get instant translations for the language they speak. They work by one user wearing the earbuds while the person speaking has the Google pixel smartphone. The user with the earbuds simply speaks their language and an application translates the voice which is then played out loud on the phone. When the person with the phone responds, their response is translated, which is heard through the earbuds. An advancement on this type technology could open many doors in terms on communicating in different languages.

How do you see these headphones being used todays society? How do you see these headphones playing out in foreign affairs?  Do you think they pose as a benefit or a burden to, being that now consumers might ignore learning a new language?

7 Responses to Babel-Fish Earbuds

  • I know that there is also another headphone out there, created by a separate company, which translates real time in your ears. Opposed to what google does, it translates it to a phone then it can be read. That being said, both technologies are monumental in how they will mold our future. Now, is this for the better? Will this lead to people not learning other languages? I don’t know. I do know that learning languages is a phenomenal way to keep your brain healthy though. On the positive, this will help people better interact with others. Imagine being in a foreign country and now bing able to converse with anyone.. wild!

  • Hi Michael– This is pretty cool. I think it’s a technological advancement that’s ready-made for everyday people to use. For example, in world politics, I believe the speakers have one earpiece in which a third translator is speaking to the listener. This advancement would eliminate the need for that third translator. My reservation for tech translators like this one by Google is that technology often does not have the capability to translate every “nook and cranny” of different languages. For example, when I took Spanish in high school and needed help translating a paragraph, I’d put it in Google Translator and it often produced a very choppy version in English. The translator technology just did not know how to fully translate Spanish into English with all the understanding of the convoluted English language that a person would know. But technology is advancing every day, and I’m sure tech translators will greatly improve. Great article!

  • I think they pose as a great benefit for society especially for people that don’t speak English as a first language which I can relate to. Spanish was my first language and I struggled early on in school learning English, and with a technology like this I can imagine how many people in similar situation like mine would thrive with these earbuds. It would definitely speed up their process in learning the language. It could also be very useful for people that enjoy traveling to different countries as they can use this to get around easier than having to rely on google translate or tour guides and things like that. This is an exciting technology that could change how people have conversations all over the world!

  • I think it is a great products, but not great enough. Google can corporate with companies who were producing professional hearing-aid, like Sennheiser, to create a special edition especially for deaf or old people. that will allow them communicate with people who speak other languages.

  • Hi Michael– I feel like this invention would make the world “flat”. What i mean by that is that it would open up so many other lanes of communication for people that have not learned more then their primary language. If used in todays society, it probable would be used mostly by tourists that are not familiar with the native language of the country they are traveling to. I see this as a benefit because consumers have no choice but to learn along the way using a translation device to translate in real time.

  • Hi Mike,
    Great post! I think this is innovation and technology at its best. This technology can single handedly defy/destroy language barriers and unite countries across seas. I think that this technology will encourage individuals to travel and enjoy different culture without worrying that they will be lost or shamed for not knowing the language. I do not think that this technology will dissuade individuals from learning a new language, in fact, I think that just the opposite will happen. I think that individuals will be able to pick up languages faster because they will have a translator in their ear.

  • Hi, Mike:
    This is a cool innovation, It can decrease the language barriers between individuals. I believe this technology is great for simple conversation. However, I do not think it can replace language learning. I assume that these earbuds use Google Translate as its language database. I use Google Translate a lot, so I know that sometimes Google Translate just doesn’t make any sense, especially for some academic papers, and sometimes Google Translate can translate wrong and misleading information.

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