Translation and Interpreting in 150+ Languages
Resistance is Futile. Google Translate Text-to-Speech Now in 34 Languages.
May 20, 2010 - By: - In: Machine Translation - 24 comments

Google Translate just gets better and better in its own increasingly horrible and creepy way. Fergus Henderson posted recently on the Google Blog about Google Translate’s new text-to-speech integration.

“One of the popular features of Google Translate is the ability to hear translations spoken out loud (“text-to-speech”) by clicking the speaker icon beside some translations.

“We rolled this feature out for English and Haitian Creole translations a few months ago and added French, Italian, German, Hindi and Spanish a couple of weeks ago. Now we’re bringing text-to-speech to even more languages with the open source speech synthesizer, eSpeak.

“By integrating eSpeak we’re adding text-to-speech functionality for Afrikaans, Albanian, Catalan, Chinese (Mandarin), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Latvian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Swahili, Swedish, Turkish, Vietnamese and Welsh.”

I have to admit I have a weakness for this kind of stuff, especially because all the voices sound like they come out of Star Trek, which has obviously been a big influence to those Googlers. (ADHD aside: did you know that they have dating sites specifically to hook up with a Googler? Weird but true. But back to the topic….)

When I say Googlers are into Star Trek, that’s a euphemism for saying Googlers are into the Borg. You know, the cybernetically enhanced humanoids from The Next Generation who, through a policy of forced aggregation, I mean, assimilation, transform individuals and technology into Google, I mean, Borg, which is a massive hive mind in single-minded pursuit of its own twisted ideas of perfection.

So check it out. I did some answering machine messages and some handy phrases here,  here, and here. Since iPhone doesn’t do flash, I was unable to test the audio on my cell, but I can imagine how useful this audio feature would be in random encounters with illiterate, non-English speakers―or to scare small children―but I guess I’ll have to wait.

Meanwhile, you translators can sleep well knowing that your hard work, posted under copyright by your high-paying clients, has been aggregated for conversion into wacky robot languages that people around the world can use for free. The collective thanks you.

Do you think this post will affect my Google page rank?

Do no evil, now, hear? XOXO Translation Guy

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