Learning a foreign language is hard. I'm sure you all know this, but I just wanted to remind you how soul-crushingly difficult it is for anybody over the age of 10 to wrap their brains around a new language. I took Japanese for three years and I still don't know much of anything. Google's Project Glass may help speed that up a bit.
Will Powell, the Oxford developer who created his own pair of Google Glasses, is at it again. This time he has implemented real-time translation into the glasses that displays what the person next to you is speaking in real time via text. While Powell's technology uses Microsoft Translate, it's not much of a stretch to think Google would use their own translation software in Project Glass. Check it out:
The video is more of a proof of concept than anything at the moment, but Google should pay attention. If they want people to use Project Glass in their everyday life, it needs to do more than just take first-person pictures.
It should be noted that Spanish is a particularly easy language to translate to English and she was speaking rather slowly. It would be interesting to see how this technology handles native Spanish speakers who are known for speaking faster than I thought humanly possible.
Does Project Glass really make learning another language unnecessary? Not at the moment, but it does have the immediate advantage of facilitating faster learning. Being able to see what somebody is saying to you in real time without having to consult a translation dictionary would be a great benefit for those trying to learn a language. I might even be able to finally learn more Japanese beyond the 20-something odd phrases I know.
The future is here, folks. Now it's up to Google and the developers who paid $1,500 for a pair of glasses to make it happen.