Understanding A Foreign Language
Being able to speak a foreign language was once considered difficult — most of those who took a foreign language in school ended up forgetting what they’ve learned years later. And of course there are many who never learned a foreign language at all. Which is why technology stepped into the ring to provide a way for someone to understand another language other than their own. This used to consist of a small device with a keyboard for typing in a phrase which would then be translated into the other language. The person would then read (make that “try”) the words now on the screen. Because that didn’t work so well, the next tech step was to have that device speak out the phrase, which was a little bit better. But consider this: you’re in Paris and, as an English speaking person, don’t speak French but have one of these devices. Think how embarrassing it is to try and approach someone to ask a question, not to mention time-consuming. That’s why the latest technology removes the keyboard entirely and replaces it with a totally different system: one where the person talking and the one being talked to can hear what is being said in the language of choice. It’s called the AMBASSADOR INTERPRETER, the over-the-ear interpreter engineered for professionals and travelers. But don’t be the least surprised that anyone interested in being able to understand other languages find it appealing.
What The Ear Wears
The AMBASSADOR INTERPRETER consists of two earpieces — well that’s mostly what they are since they impact the ear canal but to be real they actually clip over the ear (and the right ear at that). It’s much bigger than just an earpiece because of all the technology inside. So let’s go into that.
There are two microphones working to capture the speech of what is being said — the audio can be up to 8 feet/2.5 meters away. In real-world use, closer becomes better, especially when there’s a lot of surface noise that is interfering with what is being said. But by having two mics, instead of one, there is a better result, especially in these days of social distancing. This microphone array, works alongside the speech recognition neural networks so as to capture speech in a superior manner; through the use of machine learning. It’s all self-contained.
What The Ear Hears
There are three modes that can be enacted: Listen, requiring the Ambassador being worn, and which listens to someone else speaking in the language chosen to be translated (i.e., you’re listening to someone speaking in French), which turns it to your native language. Basically this means you’re listening to someone talking in their native language (which you don’t understand) and so the Ambassador translates that for you “on the fly.” It works fairly well but prefers clearly enunciated, short sentences with minimal surface noise interference. Going for long sentences and rambling can really mess it up and so should be avoided. Also w tried this with a YouTube video speaking Chinese and the conversion was negative — it doesn’t work here or with recorded language. Apparently when you set up the app with your native language and gender (and do the same for what language is going to be coming your way), it needs to be a live human speaking, not a digital recreation. We should also add that the app, meanwhile displays the text (doing speech to text conversion) and so can be looked at as well as listened to. A highlight of this is that, besides being able to switch languages quickly and efficiently, is that you can tap on a text line and hear it repeated.
Lecture mode is similar, but instead of “talking” inside the Ambassador being worn, it instead streams the audio translation to the smartphone, which can then be connected to an audio system, etc. for groups of people to listen to. Obviously that’s better for when a few people are going to be listening.
The final mode — Converse — works for direct two-way talking between two people, each wearing an Ambassador (making it sensible that two come in a kit). Multiple people can work on this, but one-to-one is what makes Converse a “killer” product. Of course the same issues as to talking slowly and clearly.
How Many Languages?
The Ambassador unit runs off a rechargeable battery, power connected via a USB cable and which runs for a few hours on a charge. It handles over 20 languages and 42 dialects: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Greek, Russian, Hindi, Turkish, Polish, Chinese Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Cantonese, Hebrew, Thai, Vietnamese and Dutch. It comes with 2 Ambassador units (available in black or red), a user manual and micro-USB cables. All of which can fit inside the included soft carry bag. For more details go to https://www.waverlylabs.com/shop/ambassador-interpreter