Traveling to a foreign country can be both exciting and a little nerve-wracking.
One of the biggest challenges for traveling to foreign countries is communicating with people in a language you don't know very well.
Sure, in larger cities you may be able to find individuals who speak your language, but that's not particularly helpful if you’re adventuring to more remote areas or local towns.
Now, an Australian startup has rolled out an earpiece that uses language translation technology to give you translations almost instantly.
Here is a look at how the gadget works, how much it costs and how it could be helpful in your travels around the world.
Meet Lingmo International
The new device is from Lingmo International, which launched its first language translation device in 2013.
In early June at United Nations Artificial Intelligence for Good Summit in Geneva, Switzerland, Lingmo unveiled the Translate One2One earpiece, which promises to change the way people communicate when visiting foreign countries.
If the internet has made the world a smaller place due to its ability to help people from all over the world communicate almost instantly, this new device will bring it closer together by improving one-on-one interpersonal communication.
Tip within a tip: The Translate One2One earpiece is a great tool to have when traveling internationally. But there are also some great apps that can help you translate other languages on the go. Click here to learn more about apps that can help you read signs, menus and so much more.
How it works
Lingmo developed the One2One using its own proprietary machine learning apps and hardware combined with the Natural Language Understand and Language Translation APIs from IBM's Watson.
The earpiece accurately translates both spoken and written words in eight languages including Chinese, English (both U.S. and U.K. dialects), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish.
That's a strong base of languages to start, and Lingmo said its developers are working on adding more languages soon.
The device takes only three to five seconds to accurately translate between languages, meaning two people who know nothing about each other's language could conceivably hold entire face-to-face conversations.
One of its most useful features is it doesn't depend on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity, meaning you can use it anywhere you're not connected, including airplanes or remote areas.
How much it costs
A device with such capabilities sounds pricey, but you may be surprised at how affordable the Translate One2One is. A single earpiece costs $179, or you can get a two-pack for $229.
Those prices are nothing to sneeze at, of course, but for those who frequently travel to foreign countries, it's very reasonable, especially considering Lingmo promises to grow the device's capabilities in the coming months and years.
The company has already stated it's working on adding more languages. It also said that in August, it will roll out a plugin that will allow you to translate emails in Outlook on the spot.
The potential uses for the Translate One2One are nearly endless. It could be beneficial for international business people who might find themselves in meetings or conferences in other parts of the world.
It could also help everyday travelers as well. For non-French speakers, for instance, it makes buying cheese, baguettes and wine in Paris a much less daunting proposition. The same could be said for navigating the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, visiting historic sites in Beijing or ordering tapas and sangria in Barcelona.
One of the best things about the earpiece is the Watson software can understand both context and regional dialects. That's very helpful with a language like Spanish, which could have differences depending on if you're in Spain, Mexico, Argentina or Ecuador.
The device also comes with an app version that includes a currency conversion tool, which is always handy when visiting other countries.
For frequent travelers, the Translate One2One earpiece is a must-have item. It makes translating other languages on the fly a breeze, and its capabilities will only expand as Lingmo adds new languages.
It's hard not to see the Translate One2One as a hot gift idea for travelers during the upcoming holiday season.