Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

Learning foreign languages ​​is pointless. You have an app for that

On the occasion of the fair, I had the opportunity to play a bit with the upcoming product from – it is a headset that can translate many foreign languages ​​​​live during conversations. Although there is still some time left before the device’s premiere, its operation, or at least its idea, is still impressive.

The point is that we meet in a group of people, e.g. during a conference, each of us speaks a different language, and yet we all understand each other. I speak Polish, someone else speaks Chinese, Hungarian or French and there is no problem in talking. I hear other people’s translated sentences in the earpiece, and they hear what I say. Yes!

In fact, we are not that far from the revolution that will be the ability to break the language barrier. If we want to use a “live” language on the street, during a trip or after moving, we can use a phone or a gadget – one from Vasco or another manufacturer that provides similar equipment. Both types of mobile gadgets (phones and translators) are equipped not only with microphones and speakers, but also with cameras. These will help translate written text.

Okay, we can translate speech, hear in Polish what another person says to us in another language, and even translate documents or information written on posters and advertising leaflets. Technological gadgets are getting better at this, so I can fly to China today (I don’t know Chinese, anyway) and I’ll be able to find my way there quite easily. So one very important question arises.

The process of learning a new language may take us up to several years, depending on the level of complexity, and we will still not fully understand its nuances, the characteristics of colloquial speech, some dialects and the like. And there’s a lot of it. I once tried my hand at Arabic, although I should probably use the term Modern Standard Arabic – a standardized variety of the language that has a total of 10 dialects, sometimes very different ones. Effect? We devote the lion’s share of our lives to learning, or we give up.

On the other hand, we can simply run a tool (an app or a translator) and stop spending hours on memorizing words or learning grammar. I asked Maciej Góralski, CEO of Vasco Electronics, about the future of foreign languages:

It is possible that the world will divide into several major ones. While today we have about 7,000 languages, in the future only a few may be in use. After all, we have English, Spanish, Mandarin or Hindi as the most popular ones.

Whether there will be division and to what extent will depend very much on culture. In Poland, we massively consume cultural goods from the West, mainly English-speaking countries. The situation is slightly different, for example, in Spain, where broadly understood pop culture is, after all, quite local. We know Spanish music and TV series. This makes the position of the native language in Madrid completely different than in Warsaw.

However, it is worth remembering that even several large language areas mean that one speech is not enough to communicate. Even more so when languages ​​as different as English and Hindi are involved.

It seems to me that with the right gadget, we will not have to learn the language at all in order to go on vacation, conduct a business meeting, or even live in another country for a few months and enjoy its charms while working remotely. To some extent, this is already possible, and it will be even easier when mobile translators and headphones are perfected.

However, there is one aspect that will not allow us to take the easy way out. What I mean here are all friendly meetings and getting to know each other differently than when exchanging pleasantries in a store. I can’t imagine going out for a beer where everyone has to listen to speech translations from a translator. This is a complete loss of fluidity, which is so important when telling jokes and spending time together.

However, it is possible that in the next few years this factor will be eliminated. . Can you imagine a situation in which a foreign language is translated 1 to 1 in the same split second as the sender’s statement is spoken? Then what you will need is not a phone, but perhaps an implant that sends data to our brain without delay (yes, I’m looking at you).

Ultimately, we are on uncertain ground about what the next few years will bring. These will definitely be exciting. We are already at the stage where a trip to France can only take place if you know the word “bonjour”, and even without it you will succeed. What’s next? Time will tell.


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