How translation technology is breaking language barriers.
The direct selling industry is no stranger to evolving communication strategies, especially companies operating in multiple countries. Technology continues to shrink the world, bringing together people from many different cultures who speak many different languages. That simultaneously offers terrific opportunities and presents unique challenges for direct sellers. But advancements in translation technology are helping break down language barriers while people become more comfortable conversing and doing business with those who speak different languages.
According to ethnologue.com, more than 7,000 languages are spoken in the world today, but just 23 languages account for more than half of the world’s population. In addition, more than half of Facebook’s 2.5 million users post in a language other than English. So, the opportunity to use translation technology to expand network-based business is only going to grow.
“Understanding is going to become the new normal,” says Dave Limp, Amazon’s Senior Vice President of Devices and Services. “Kids will never grow up in a world where they aren’t able to hear any language. It’ll just happen.”
How Translation Technology is Working
From wearable earbuds, mobile apps, voice-activated devices, today’s translation technology focuses on accuracy, simplicity and mobility. Phone apps incorporate voice and audio translations, keyboard messaging, and even augmented reality translations that use your camera to identify and translate the names of common items.
Amazon Echo and Google Home are equipped with translation features. If your device has a screen, the translated text can appear on the screen. The Google Translate app has more than 1 billion active monthly users, 95 percent of whom are from outside the U.S. More than 140 billion words are translated daily. Microsoft’s translation capabilities apply across a spectrum of products, including Word, Outlook, PowerPoint and others. Of course, these technologies come with some negatives. Not all translations are perfect. Meaning and intent can be lost. Accents, inflections, and disruptions such as “um” and “uh” can hinder the experience.
Most direct selling replicated websites can toggle between languages, and many print and online marketing materials are created in multiple languages, using translation technology can be a huge benefit. It can bridge communication gaps on the go, translate existing print marketing material, help with in-person presentations, and expand the reach of various forms of marketing content such as social posts, instant messaging, blogs, emails and more.
Hot Translation Tech
Video A Waverly Labs’ wearable interpreter device supports more than 20 languages and 42 dialects. It works in three modes. “Listen mode” can pick up a speaker within 8 feet. “Converse mode” allows up to four people wearing the devices to have a conversation, even with different languages. In “Lecture mode,” Ambassador broadcasts the words of the speaker wearing the device over a loudspeaker.
Google Pixel Buds and Translate App
Pixel Buds, Google’s answer to Apple’s AirPods, works with the Google Translate app and on Android phones with Google Assistant. You first select a language by asking Google Assistant to help you interpret a language or selecting a language in the Translate App. When using the Pixel Buds, touch and hold either earbud to speak the words you want to translate, then you receive a response. You can also listen to another language in transcribe mode as Google Translate speaks a language that is continuously translated into your ear, along with a transcript on your phone.
This app features 101 languages and dialects. This is an audio/spoken platform that allows you to speak into your device, and the app translates and transcribes a message to be seen and heard by the person you want to communicate to. You can even change the speed at which your translated voice is expressed.
Microsoft’s offering might be the most versatile translation platform on the market. It features both consumer and business versions. Type, speak or even take a photo of an image with text you want to translate. You can use iOS or Android apps or translate in a web browser.
From the August 2021 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.