Translation technology is useful, but should not replace learning languages

16 October 2017

Headphones that translate in real time are very useful, but they should not replace language learning...

For many years now, there have been calls for Australians to learn languages, particularly Asian languages, as the world economy pivots to the Asia-Pacific. But the number of students learning languages in Australia has remained stubbornly low

Rapid improvements in machine translation and speech recognition technologies in recent years appear to offer an easy way out. While problems still arise, the use of AI has led to remarkable improvements in the quality of Google translations, and increasingly accurate speech recognition technologies are now widely available.

Drawing these two technologies together, Google has announced the upcoming launch of wireless headphones that feature real-time language translation. With the advent of these technologies, do we still need to learn other languages?

Read more of Head of School of Languages and Cultures Professor Michael Haugh's article, as featured in The Conversation today. 

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