Monday, October 8, 2007

Now your iPod can translate too?

It's called Vcommunicator Mobile, and it's a beefed up iPod with Arabic phrases.

You’re at a checkpoint and you need the Iraqi to get out of the vehicle and open the trunk. Scroll the iPod wheel over to “Vehicle Checkpoint” mission library and it’ll show a list of phrases: “peace be upon you;” “we need to search your vehicle;” “turn off your car;” “open the door;” etc. The iPod will show the words in phonetics and in Arabic so you can try the phrase yourself or show it to an Iraqi to read.
But click on the “Arabic script” and the phrase plays through a miniature speaker plugged into your iPod (Vcom salespeople had some nifty arm bands to attach both the iPod and speaker within reach). There’s even a primer on the right gestures to make when saying the phrase.
So far the Vcom software incorporates around 300 vocabulary words and 400 phrases in Arabic and Kurdish – with Pashto and Dari dictionaries on the way. The software includes a phrase and gesture-builder module so you can design your own specific mission phrases as needed.
I wonder how clunky this is in real life, or how hard it is to follow the gestures on such a tiny screen?

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