Language & linguistics news from around the world • Updated daily • Relevant stories, selected by humans (not computers)

Share this site!

Category: Technology - Page 2

  • Mar 14, 2012
  • 11:27 PM

How the QWERTY Keyboard Is Changing the Chinese Language

Chance Kinney / Chip Chick
As computers become more widely used and handwriting is used less, the need to know how to write Chinese characters is decreasing. Computers represent a fundamental shift in the way students produce the written Chinese language, and have led to what is now being termed character amnesia. Some students are literally forgetting how to write. This starts with the most complex, least used characters, and works down from there.
  • Mar 14, 2012
  • 11:21 PM

Smartphone App Wins Language Initiative Award

Ott Tammik / ERR
A speech recognition application for smartphones was picked out as the best Estonian language initiative of 2011. The Ministry of Education and Research held an awards ceremony at a Haapsalu grade school on Wednesday, which is Mother Tongue Day. Eight other initiatives were also given honors.
  • Mar 13, 2012
  • 07:31 PM

Users say Siri struggles in Japanese debut

Josh Ong / Apple Insider
Apple added Japanese language support to Siri last week with the release of iOS 5.1, but some Japanese speakers are having trouble being understood by the voice assistant.
  • Mar 12, 2012
  • 07:32 PM

Understanding place and space in a decreasingly English world

David Sims / O'Reilly Radar
For some languages, the future is in front of us, but for others it is behind us. Some languages use length is a metaphor for time (a long time) while some prefer volume (a large amount of time). Some languages will prefer relative directions (turn left) while others will only permit absolute directions (turn north).
  • Mar 12, 2012
  • 02:57 AM

Device to translate sign language

The Press Association
A computer programme that translates sign language into written text could revolutionise the lives of the deaf and hard of hearing, scientists have said. The software, which can be used on portable devices and provides near instantaneous translation, would be the first of its kind.
  • Mar 12, 2012
  • 02:43 AM

Initiative to standardise virtual keyboards

T. Ramachandran / The Hindu
An initiative has been launched under the aegis of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to standardise virtual or touch-screen keyboards in Indian languages for use in smart phones and tablet computers.
  • Mar 10, 2012
  • 05:50 PM

Software Translates Your Voice into Another Language (audio)

Tom Simonite / Technology Review
Researchers at Microsoft have made software that can learn the sound of your voice, and then use it to speak a language that you don't. The system could be used to make language tutoring software more personal, or to make tools for travelers.
  • Mar 07, 2012
  • 02:52 PM

Is There Too Much English on the Internet? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Zoe Fox / Mashable
The amount of Arabic on the Internet — 3% of all sites in 2011 — has increased by 2500% since 2000. Similarly, Russian’s current 3% share is up 1800% in the last decade. China added more Internet users in three years than people in the U.S. And China, India, Iran, Nigeria and Russia have added the most new Internet users in the last five years.
  • Mar 07, 2012
  • 11:23 AM

App helps blind to send text messages

BBC News
Brailletouch, which the team hope to release in the next couple of weeks, uses a system that is controlled with six fingers and, crucially, does not require any movement of the hands. "Users who know how to type Braille well never move their hands," explained Mario Romero, lead researcher on the project.
  • Mar 07, 2012
  • 01:38 AM

High-tech system saves money for court, miles for translators

Walter Pacheco / Orlando Sentinel
Chief Judge Belvin Perry, in an effort to relieve financial stress on the court and improve services, spearheaded the installation of a high-tech interpreter system — the first in the state — that simultaneously connects interpreters across 67 courtrooms through a network of flat-screens, high definition cameras and fiber-optic lines.
  • Mar 05, 2012
  • 11:01 PM

Good News, Spock—We're Getting Closer to a Universal Translator

David H. Freedman / Discover Magazine
Those of us for whom Star Trek serves as a benchmark for technological progress can only bemoan the fact that hopes for faster-than-light travel to other galaxies seem to be receding at warp speed, given that we no longer even have faster-than-sound travel to France. But I would prefer to focus on the bright side: We’re rapidly closing in on the Universal Translator, which means that when I do finally arrive in France, I’ll be able to communicate as easily as if I were on Earth.
  • Mar 01, 2012
  • 03:29 PM

Bing Translation Learns Hmong Language

Ian Elliot / iProgrammer
Microsoft has added Hmong to the list of languages supported by Bing Translator. This was achieved using new features of Microsoft Translator to train a new translation engine using parallel documents.
  • Mar 01, 2012
  • 03:01 PM

Robo-language the future?

Abbie Napier / The Press
ESPERANTO NEVER quite entered the mainstream, and Elvish and Klingon were popular with Lord of the Rings and Star Trek fans. But Christchurch scientists are convinced a language they are designing especially for robots will one day be in mainstream use.
  • Mar 01, 2012
  • 12:38 AM

Texting affects ability to interpret words

Jennifer Myers / University of Calgary
Research designed to understand the effect of text messaging on language found that texting has a negative impact on people’s linguistic ability to interpret and accept words. The study, conducted by Joan Lee for her master’s thesis in linguistics, revealed that those who texted more were less accepting of new words.
  • Feb 29, 2012
  • 11:23 PM

Windows Live Wave 5 to support 93 languages, doubling the current count

Windows Live currently supports 48 languages, and we were tipped that the upcoming version of Windows Live will almost double the number of languages supported, bring that to 93 languages in total. Check out an exclusive screenshot below comparing the number of languages supported in the current version of Windows against what’s coming in Wave 5:
  • Feb 28, 2012
  • 03:42 PM

Signs of progress

The Economist
...So Dr Jemni's team built a system which uses natural-language processing to translate text messages into sign-language animations delivered in the form of a multimedia message (MMS). MMSs work on most phones and the actual data-crunching is performed not on the device but on the EUMEDGrid, a distributed-computing facility.
  • Feb 22, 2012
  • 02:38 PM

Varsity centre works on apps for Tamil

Arun Janardhanan / Times of India
CHENNAI: Despite the government's effort to promote Tamil, the language has not found favour with the tech-savvy younger generation in the absence of a common Tamil computing platform. That might change with the SRM University working on applications that identify the grammar and structure of Tamil as a computing language as many applications do with English and some other foreign languages.
  • Feb 17, 2012
  • 03:46 PM

Cambridge tech firm BBN lands Army contract to develop instant translation program

Jon Chesto / Mass. Market
The “Star Wars” movies gave us an iconic robot that could translate conversations instantly in a seemingly infinite number of languages. It made for good science fiction. But Raytheon BBN Technologies in Cambridge is developing technology that would put the ornery C3PO to shame.
  • Feb 17, 2012
  • 02:20 PM

Siri may get Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, and Russian language support in March

Rue Liu / SlashGear
According to a report by Chinese technology website DoNews, Apple is preparing its Siri intelligent voice-controlled assistant feature to support Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, and Russian. The update is expected to arrive for the iPhone 4S sometime next month.
  • Feb 16, 2012
  • 10:50 AM

Indian languages losing their cyber-vitality

Jayadevan PK / Economic Times
Efforts at making Indic computing - creating scripts and software for Indian languages - easier have been taken up by the government, non-profit groups and language institutions but much ground needs to be covered. And if things don't happen fast, these languages will face virtual extinction.
  • Feb 15, 2012
  • 03:54 PM

Wear this glove to learn sign language (video)

Elizabeth Cunningham-Perkins / Digital Journal
Funded by the National Science Foundation, IDRT's AcceleGlove product teaches and translates American Sign Language by interconnecting computer software and a camera with accelerometer-tracked input from the wearer's finger movements.
  • Jan 12, 2012
  • 12:27 PM

Omron smartphone app comes close to instantaneous text translations

Minoru Matsutani / The Japan Times
Omron Software Co. has developed a smartphone application that translates short English, Korean and Chinese written phrases into Japanese in less than a second.
  • Jan 10, 2012
  • 01:39 AM

Cracking the Konkani code

Renuka Phadnis / The Hindu
Written in Kannada, Devanagari, Malayalam, Arabic and Roman scripts, the challenge for technologists is presenting the same content in multiple scripts. Now, a group of people that includes Wikipedians are fine-tuning a transliteration tool straddling the multiple scripts of Konkani. If the tool succeeds, it can be used for other multiple-script languages such as Kashmiri, Santhali and Chinese.
  • Jan 10, 2012
  • 01:17 AM

China develops minority language translation software

China Daily
BEIJING - China on Friday announced five software applications designed to further promote and standardize the use of minority languages. These programs include electronic dictionaries for the characters of the Yi and Zhuang ethnic groups, a proofreading tool for the Zhuang ethnic language, and transcoding applications for the languages of the Tibetan, Uygur, Kazakh and Kyrgyz ethnicities, according to a statement released Friday by the State Ethnic Affairs Commission.
  • Dec 22, 2011
  • 08:21 PM

Will Pakistan's Language Be Lost in Texting Translation? (audio)

Fahad Desmukh / PRI's The World
Because the first generations of mobile phones couldn’t send text messages using Pakistan’s Urdu script, Pakistanis improvised and started transliterating Urdu phrases into the Latin alphabet. Even though Urdu-capable phones are more common now, many people have become used to using the Latin script.
  • Dec 21, 2011
  • 06:30 PM

Apple's Siri Still Hates the British. And Southerners

Jeremy A. Kaplan / Fox News
"If you want to use it to search for a place or a location on a map, you have to use the American version -- you can't use the British version," Randell explained. Try to find a post office or drug store with British English enabled, and Siri will demurely decline.
  • Dec 21, 2011
  • 06:20 PM

Speak Any Language With New Real-Time Voice Translation

Michael J. Mintz / NoCamels
Lexifone’s technology allows people to have regular conversations, in different languages. When one party speaks, what they say is automatically translated into the other person’s language and vice versa.
  • Dec 17, 2011
  • 11:49 AM

Why Thailand's children need tablet computers

Robert Kirkpatrick / Bangkok Post
Predictably, gainsayers have lined up to pick at this policy and one argument recently tabled is that there are not sufficient educational programmes in Thai, leading to children using the tablets mainly for English learning. The problem with that, so this contention runs, is that young children should be concentrating on Thai...
  • Dec 17, 2011
  • 11:13 AM

Texting Glove for the hearing impaired (video)

Mark R / Coolest Gadgets
The Texting Glove is essentially a device where you can use sign language to create a text message. This device was introduced at Google’s Developers Day in Tel Aviv, by designers Oleg Imanilov, Zvika Markfield, and Tomer Daniel. It uses a gyroscope, an ADK Board, Lilypad Arduino, finger sensors, and an accelerometer.
  • Dec 16, 2011
  • 11:59 PM

Technology To Bridge Language Barriers for Doctors, Patients

David Pecor /
Using electronic tablets, the new system will use streaming video technology to provide live interpretation services in Howard County.