Language Tool: Pilot

This year's star at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona may not be a mobile device but an accessory.  Priced at $299 it promises to get where no gadget has gone before: the simultaneous translation of foreign languages.

The device is called Pilot and comes from Waverly Labs – a new start-up from New York founded by Andrew Ochoa, a Mexican-American from Dallas, who raised $4.4 million by crowdfunding the project.

The tool will be on sale in May and works like this: you, with a Pilot in your ear, speak French, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish. Me, with my Pilot inserted, listen to you in English. When I answer in English, our Pilots will convert my speech into your language. The device will be the size of a headset and will work wirelessly through a phone application. Computer work will be done remotely – in the cloud.

Pilot seems to work like other language applications such as Google Translate.  Beginning with simple vocabulary and grammar rules, they then review billions of documents to incorporate exceptions to the grammar rules and colloquial language.

The tool has some inconveniences. To use it abroad, for example, it will only be possible by using a substantial amount of data and, in addition, eveveryone you want to communicate with needs to have a Pilot inserted in their ear.   Also, the first Pilot does not go beyond English and “easy” Latin languages and the context may still be a problem for this technology, as it is for other AIs.

To learn more visit Waverly Labs‘ website.

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