Pixel Buds Break Language Barriers

Last Wednesday, Google announced the release of its version of wireless headphones called “Pixel Buds”. Unlike other Bluetooth enabled earbuds on the market, the Pixel Buds come with a few unique features that continue to push the boundaries of what users can expect from this trend of convergence in technology. The Pixel Buds come in a variety of colors including Just Black, Clearly White, and Kinda Blue in accordance with the newly released colors of the Pixel 2. These earbuds are connected by a wire which eliminates concerns that some users had about losing a small loose earbud, as is the case with the Apple AirPods. The Pixel Buds also come with a portable charging case and one-touch audio control including access to the Google Assistant.

However, a buzz has been building around the most impressive feature, that is of course, the capability of real-time translation for 40 languages. With this technology powered by Google Translate, users can receive a direct translation of a foreign language in their ear as it is being spoken to them. As expected, this announcement has sparked important conversations with professional translators and interpreters about the future of artificial intelligence when it comes to their professions.

The article linked below from Business Insider brings some interesting perspectives to the table, including the practicality of utilizing this technology when corresponding with individuals who speak another language. One concern that translators bring to the table is that no matter how advanced this technology gets, meaning and inflection can be lost in translation when it comes to more difficult or technical language.  However, when it comes to basic phrases and greetings that could be potentially used by tourists, this technology can open up a literal world of possibility when it comes to individuals traveling to countries with language barriers that would have otherwise kept them from visiting.

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/professional-translators-reactions-google-pixel-buds-2017-10

https://store.google.com/us/product/google_pixel_buds?hl=en-US

Image Credit: Google

 

2 thoughts on “Pixel Buds Break Language Barriers

  1. I remember reading this article and thought to myself how cool this is. I do agree that this would be considered a “disruptive innovation” because it could render professional translators and interpreters obsolete. However, I do think it is interesting though, that people at least wouldn’t have to solely rely on language dictionaries, Duolingo, and the worst of them all, Google translate. Users can actually keep up with the speaker and not have to frantically search for the words they need to interpret and what to say back. I did read that someone mentioned that this could be an invasion of privacy for people who truly feel comfortable speaking in their native language. People could try to eavesdrop on their conversations with these headphones. That could always be a possibility, but with any new or developing technology our privacy weakens more and more. Overall, I still think it’s a really cool concept!

  2. I agree that this product can be extremely helpful in terms of tourists using it when visiting foreign countries. Not only it helps to communicate on a daily basis, but it also helps people to learn a foreign language more quickly. It opens up the boundaries and takes a huge step forward to the idea of a global village where people, regardless where they’re from, can communicate with each other efficiently.

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