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One language will be enough.

A few weeks ago Google released a tool that provides voice translation into several languages for free. This is a major breakthrough in democratizing voice translation technology that could bring us to an era where knowledge of foreign languages looses its importance. This is a bold statement, but I think it will happen in a few decades or maybe years.
Nowadays fluency in several languages is important for several reasons including applying for a job, communicating with foreigners, travelling, education (especially for countries that don't publish enough books in their own language), accessing the internet and online resources and much more.
In exception of some businesses and institutions that depend of high quality formal translations the wording required to understand a foreign text is relatively small. Most humans are not very dependent on high quality translations. For example, a tourist doesn't need to master the language of the country he's visiting, nor does an internet user from e.g. Slovenia need to speak English in order to access the internet and all its content. This is due to both an increase of articles and other content in their native language and the availability of tools that can quickly translate any content that is not in their foreign language to a language that they understand.
Free online translators can quickly translate a website from many languages to many others. The Chrome web browser prompts the user if he needs a translation of the website he's reading whenever the language of the site is not the language of the country where the user is located (or any other language that he specified as unknown).


Text translation tools are not new; they have existed for many years. However translating voice is much harder and accessible tools permitting it are not widely known. Audio transcribing tools will probably never achieve 100% accuracy, however their quality is sufficient for most common day issues. Once voice is translated into textual information it is relatively simple to translate it into another language[1]. We can then use a Text to Speech (TTS) program to play the translated content back to the receiver.
Imagine just how easy it got for a tourist to speak with a native. The ease of use of the tools can allow him to have longer conversations, which in turn can help him memorize a few words, simplifying communication during his next visit.
The availability of such tools can really revolutionize the way we communicate with foreigners. It facilitates the flow of verbal information, and reduces misunderstandings. It helps remove false stereotypes that obstruct the interchange of ideas between foreign nations and ease travelling around the globe.
The world has become smaller again.
[1]The quality of tools that can translate textual contend can hardly match the work of an educated translator. However there are enough tools that get the job done well. What I find amazing is that a group of very talented developers can write a translating application without speaking a word of the languages their tool can translate into. Such a tool is Google Translate which does it with statistical analysis of content. Indeed there are no long list of words manually included in their software, the translation is generated algorithmically by analyzing all their indexed web content.


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