Online language translation moves from software to hardware

copierTime use to be that you needed to carry a thick book in your back pocket when traveling if you wanted to find the nearest bus station, restroom or brothel hotel.

But these days the quickest way to translate something from Japanese to English and back again is by typing it into an online service. There are dozens of online translators out there, letting you read complete websites or translate snippets of text.

But once your tools move online, they're not limited to a certain type of device. You can translate items with pretty much any web browser or operating system. Heck, it turns out you don't even need a computer. Fuji Xerox is showing off a prototype copy machine that can translate documents as it copies.

Insert a Japanese document and the copier will access an internet service to translate the text into Chinese, English or Korean. The printer access a dedicated server, which we expect is about as good as any other machine-based translator out there. In other words, expect the copier to spit out a few nonsense sentences.

It's a neat idea, but at least when you try to translate a web page online you're not wasting any paper when you wind up with a completely garbled machine translation.

[via Engadget and Crave]

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