Over the last 20 years the internet has provided us with a communication device equal to none within human history. It has changed the way we socialise, the way we shop and the way we think; psychology studies are showing that our brains are changing to become more adept at finding information rather than storing it . With these massive technological advancements global projects have been set up by businesses that are beginning to break down language barriers. Google translate has collected words and translations from all over the web, enabling you to translate text based communication pretty accurately within seconds of typing the words, (although it is by no means perfect yet).
In March this year Microsoft showed off advance stage software that can learn the sound of your voice and then use it to speak a language that you don’t. Microsoft demonstrated the ability of the software showing it reading written text from one language and then speaking aloud in another language synthesized to the presenter’s voice . Microsoft have announced plans for this current software to be researched further, which they hope one day enable you to speak into a device in one language and that device will translate what you said into another language.
Technology is already helping some people learn languages with software from companies such as Rosetta Stone. But will Technology become so advanced that it makes the demands of learning a language obsolete? We certainly hope not. Languages offer so much more than the ability to simply speak another language ). But with technology like this already being developed at an intermediate stage, where will the technology end up?
Technology like this may have seemed unbelievable 10 years ago, but today it is a very real possibility that this may be with us in the near future. After all, Microsoft’s technology is based on text input being converted to language output and we already have voice enabled mobile phones which convert your voice into information shown on your phone i.e. Apple’s Siri.
Whatever the advancement in technology, in our opinion there will always be a demand for language in the work place. In the coming year’s, technology may be able to translate your words, even using your voice to do so; but will it be able to convey the emotion in your voice and the specific semantics in your speech? We think not. What do you think? Will technology ever replace the need for languages?