Translation Technology Moves Mobile

Jan 03, 2003 02:59 PM EST

Technology and worldwide Christianity intertwine when it comes to translation. With so many different countries and so many different languages, Christians struggle to understand each other, even when they share the same faith. This all came into light, as IBM announced its translation software technology for the mobile worldwide generation.

The software is called ViaVoice Translator. The software had already been made for the computer market, but IBM has now adapted it to the handheld PDA, specifically, the Compaq iPAQ.

Users can enter text in one language and the software outputs the text in another language. It provides two-way text and speech translations from English to French, Italian, German or Spanish.

What makes this software so special is the vast usability for translation. Typical translation applications are limited to specific words or sentences. ViaVoice will parse long documents in context for translation.

Now this technology has been made mobile.

"This is all about adding capabilities to the mobile workforce -- or for anyone who deals with content that must be translated," Sunil Soares, director of product management for IBM's pervasive computing division. "Users can translate notes, Web pages or messages to and from English."

IBM's also has another machine translation technology also is available through the WebSphere Translation Server. It is designed for machine translation of Web pages, documents, or instant messages using Lotus Sametime.

Christians worldwide have always had problems joining in faith because of language barriers. Going abroad, sharing scriptures and meditating on the word become difficult without good translation.

This mobile translation technology will work wonders for the next generation of evangelist missionaries. This technology will support mission work worldwide to unite people even through languages.

Translation technology in general is still a work in progress. Recently, IDC Analyst Alex Slawsby, tested ViaVoice speech recognition software. He said it works well as long as the voice commands are spoken slowly with careful enunciation.

"It is getting better, but it does not work too well with natural speaking patterns," Slawsby explained, "The translation function is an interesting concept, but voice recognition for handhelds is still in its infancy."

Translation technology will be the next big step in uniting Christianity worldwide. Just wait until that day when you can travel anywhere and join easily with people everywhere as a family of faith.

By Walker T.