Language has the power to move the world. It connects doctors with patients, forges the strongest business deals, teaches new insights, and stays with us every day of every year of our life. Its powers are distributed unequally though: a person speaking a single language can talk to only 17% of people across the world. The immense knowledge and experiences of the other 6.4 billion people who they can't communicate with are effectively closed off.
We brought our collective experiences together with the goal of changing this. From Cuba to China to India to Mexico, we have faced barriers with connecting and understanding the perspective of different cultures across the world. In particular, we noticed that doctors and teachers face some of the hardest challenges with transcending cultural barriers and bringing healthcare and education to different regions across the globe. With the latest deep learning and cloud-based technology, authentic realtime translation is closer than ever before.
Utilizing Google's cloud speech to text, Yandex, and Microsoft Azure APIs, Babel seamlessly integrates a translator into the Google Voice AIY kit. When a user speaks in a foreign language, Babel picks up spoken language and translates it so that two or more people can speak together, without any phone or additional device in the middle. We wanted to connect two people as close as possible to if they were speaking a real conversation in the same language.
By the end of the hackathon, we were able to successfully carry a conversation between one person speaking Spanish and another speaking English.