Friday, September 28, 2007

Babel Fish photocopier?

From Digital World Tokyo:
The device, currently on show [Subscription link] only in Japan, can scan a printed sheet of Japanese text from a newspaper or magazine and churn out a translation of it in Chinese, English or Korean while retaining the original layout. Flip a switch and the linguistic parsing works in the opposite direction too.
Fuji Xerox’s secret lies in networking the unnamed copier to a dedicated translation server and combining this with algorithms that can distinguish between text, drawings and lines for maintaining page layouts.
Still gotta wonder how well is actually translates, though? It sounds like it's trying to do too much, being able to translate between four different languages interchangeably. I wonder how well it plays telephone? (ie. translating a paragraph through all the different languages it is capable of, and then translating it back into the original language?)

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