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Meet your personal tour guide

发布时间:2019-03-07 05:09:04来源:未知点击:

By David Windle ARE you lost for words when you travel abroad, or do you just get plain lost? A system put to the test over the Internet last week attempts to solve both these problems for good. The system combines speech-translation technology with information from Global Positioning System satellites to act as a personal tour guide. To demonstrate it, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh joined colleagues in the multinational Consortium for Speech Translation Advanced Research in a video conference. What was unusual about the online meeting was that although there were no human interpreters, all the participants were able to listen in their own language to what was being said, regardless of the language being spoken, thanks to the translation software. But it was slightly slower than a human translator. Crucially, the software has an intermediate stage that extracts the sense and context of spoken words rather than translating verbatim. This also makes it easier to add new languages to the system’s repertoire. Last week’s demonstration took the form of a planning exercise during which participants organised trips to various locations around the world. Speaking in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Korean, they were able to collaborate on itineraries, view still pictures of local sites of interest and see images of different hotels, before finalising their plans. In the second part of the experiment, a video link between Pittsburgh and Heidelberg showed an English-speaking tourist using a portable unit to converse with German speaker that he met. Although torrential rain interrupted proceedings,