David Shamah of the Times of Israel recently wrote, "The world may be a global village, but each neighborhood in that village still has its own language or dialect. Working to bridge those neighborhoods is Lexifone. With its computer learning system and smart algorithms, the company’s goal is to enable people to speak in their own tongue, with the party on the other end hearing them in their language. Lexifone works in English (the US, British, or Australian versions) Spanish (European and Mexican), Portuguese (European and Brazilian), French (European and Canadian), Mandarin (Chinese and Taiwanese), Russian, Polish, Italian, German, and Hebrew. Using the platform, anyone can call speakers of those languages, and make themselves understood in any of them."
Shamah continues, "Lexifone deploys its technology in the form of an app which is either offered directly by a phone company for customers, or directly from Lexifone, via a local access number. Users dial into a foreign calling code and start speaking, with the listener having the option of hearing the speaker talk in their native language, or hearing the caller directly. The translation is done automatically by computer, with the system interpreting what the caller is saying and delivering it to the listener in a form 'they will understand and comprehend,' said Ike Sagie, CEO of Lexifone. That’s an important point as users have to expect translations that may be a bit off. 'Text to text translation, like Google Translate, is complicated enough,' said Sagie, and the results often show how hard it is to come up with the right terms, syntax, sentence structure, etc. 'It’s even more complicated in voice to voice,' he said. 'We manage to do it using patented algorithms that combine linguistics, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and telephony. The end result is a system that allows two people to have a standard conversation using everyday sentences and idioms'.”
Image: Courtesy Lexifone