What is Speech to Speech Translation?


No longer in the realm of science fiction, the concept of a real-time universal translator is currently in the works as pioneering companies such as Google and Facebook are acquiring and developing technologies that support speech recognition, language translation, and speech synthesis. In 2006, an advancement that led to the development and use of layered models of inputs, termed deep neural networks (DNN), brought speech recognition to its highest level of accuracy yet, clearing the way for speech-to-speech translation. As a result, today’s consumers are habitually interacting with voice-activated virtual assistants on their mobile phones and even in their vehicles with greater ease and comfort. Researchers are now applying DNN to automatic translation engines in efforts to increase the semantic accuracy of interpreting the world’s languages, and Microsoft engineers have already demo-ed software that can synthesize an individual’s own voice in another language, from English to Mandarin. Progress in machine learning technologies is bringing the universal translator closer to the consumer’s hand, and is poised to transform communication and collaboration at the global level.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to academic and research libraries?

  • new expectations and use cases for speech to speech translation of library services - franziska.regner franziska.regner Nov 1, 2016
  • new challenges for information retrieval based on voice-activated retrieval - franziska.regner franziska.regner Nov 1, 2016
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • There is an opportunity to use the speech data in the context of artifical intelligence - franziska.regner franziska.regner Nov 1, 2016
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on academic and research libraries?

  • new user interfaces will be needed - franziska.regner franziska.regner Nov 1, 2016
  • voice-oriented Social Media Use of Libraries (new platforms, such as Snapchat) - franziska.regner franziska.regner Nov 1, 2016
  • This is likely to expand the range of resources (eg. video, live streaming from conferences) that can be accessed by students from researchers working in other languages. This will place some demand on library staff in searching across different languages, which could be facilitated in the future by the multilingual linked data in Wikidata. - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Nov 8, 2016
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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