Inspiration

Communication is sometimes difficult when there's a language barrier in the way, but it's always good to keep in touch with family and friends by regularly communicating with them. Language barriers shouldn't be a reason for people to stop talking to each other, and conversation should be as easy as just speaking out loud.

What it does

Translation Nation is a web app for chatting that allows for users to speak or text in whatever language they want to, and be able to talk to someone else who may not speak the same language. A user who speaks English could communicate with their friend who speaks Spanish, and the app will output their speech and/or text in their preferred languages.

How we built it

We used HTML and JavaScript to translate speech to text as well as text to speech. We linked the text ends of those features by using the Google Cloud Translation API, and organized all of the data into a user-friendly chat interface with Firebase.

Challenges we ran into

The scope of our project was fairly broad - the entire team was inexperienced with web development, but we really wanted to give it our best shot. We intended to use Google Cloud APIs for the speech and text conversions in addition to the translation API, but there were complications with implementing them into our project using Maven. We brushed up on the Google Cloud tutorials to help ourselves better understand the material, and used that new knowledge to make our web app.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Like we mentioned in the challenges we ran into, we were all inexperienced with web development. It took a lot of reading up on documentation and practicing with sample data before we could contribute anything to our web app, but each bit of progress we made was exciting.

What we learned

We were a bit familiar with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, but Firebase and the Google Cloud APIs were new territory for us. We spent the first couple hours of the hackathon researching and going through many tutorials so that we could make our web app, and we learned so much in that brief time.

What's next for us

We're really proud of our project, but there's always room for improvement! We'd like to make sure the screen size fits all computers, and then improve general functionality with better audio output. Additionally, we'd like to expand on the idea and make the translated chats compatible with real-time video and mobile applications.

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