With the internet so seamlessly integrated into our every day lives, it is surprising to know that only a projected 50% of all phone users own a smartphone*, with an even smaller subset of those having access to data plans. We have grown so accustomed to the net's ability to help us navigate, learn, and understand each-other, that it is often mad painfully aware to us when any one of these services is missing. Combined with the fast growth of Canadian tourism overseas**, this inspired our team to create a solution for translation without connection.
What it does
The project enables people to call a robot translator to bridge the language gap anywhere you travel.
The following languages have supported translation to and from English: Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish.
Use Case Outline
So imagine this: You're in a foreign country and you meet somebody who you want to talk to. This could be anybody, including the store clerk that you want to ask about a certain product, the fellow tourist that you met at a festival, the local for directions: The possibilities are endless. This solution could even act as your interpreter in important situations with the local authorities of a country you're visiting. All you have to do at this point is take out your phone, and regardless of your WiFi access, all you have to do is follow the following steps:
- Dial the Callingo number. (Alternatively, you can visit the mobile app we prototypes, which has the number and languages)
- Say the other language which you would like to be interpreted in your conversation
- And you're done! You and the other person can take turns speaking in your preferred languages, and the Twilio API (with the help of Google Speech to Text and Watson Translate) will translate the spoken phrase to the other's preferred language
Challenges we ran into
The integration of the three APIs into one large system had some unexpectedly nefarious interactions, but once we worked out the nuances of the language codes (which were specific to each API), all we had to do was define the language code conversions in dictionaries and the app began to run smoothly. In the end, it was something that we were proud of being able to handle.
What's next for Callingo
If we could take this platform further, some essential feature implementations would be greater language support, improved utility and voice commands, as well as the automation of server acquisition that would let the customer choose and but the phone number that he wants to call while abroad.