Star Trek Universal Translator Now A Reality, Finally

Well, it’s been half a century since the notion of a universal translator was introduced on Star Trek, the television series of the 1960’s.
What’s that?
Not sure what a universal translator is?
Watch this first and find out please:


So, decades later, it would appear that someone has actually invented one of these things in the spirit of the Star Trek Universal Translator.  It’s about time too. Three-quarters of Americans speak only their own language, with no second language.  Because of that,  translation problems may arise, especially during travels. That’s why the international startup Travis decided to build the first personal voice translator to help bridge language barriers worldwide. The translator understands and translates 80 most spoken languages using artificial intelligence.

“We want to ensure that everybody worldwide can communicate with each other, especially in this globalizing world. That is why we’ve made a universal translator, able to translate pronounced sentences in real time.”- Lennart van der Ziel, co-founder of Travis.

Not An App-  On the up side, that the Travis device is a stand alone translator means that you don’t always have to open your phone in order to look for the right word. Embracing a the Travis Universal Translator then means bringing an extra device along for your travels.  Ultra sensitive to adding things to packing lists so we can travel with carry-on luggage only, we have to pause and consider if the new device is worth the packing space.  The Travis Universal Translator appears to be well worth saving packing space for.

Don’t get me wrong: smartphone apps are great and some are doing wonderful work.  Still, when you’re using an app on your phone you struggle with things like battery life, speed and most of all, eye contact.  Eye contact and non-verbal communication are therefore possible, which is important for understanding each other.

Let’s take a look:

Oh, Like A Chatty Alexa or Google Home!

Travis is the first translator with artificial intelligence so the more it’s used the smarter it becomes. In each language combination, it chooses the most appropriate translation software from engines like Google and Microsoft, to more local ones. Soon Travis users will be able to rate on an online platform the accuracy of translations delivered so that the translator can improve.

Early adopters number over 6,000 and Travis is looking for more to make the translator even better.  Apparently true: It learns.

In addition, Travis uses an enhanced built-in microphone, which also works in a busy bar. The device translates 23 languages in an offline mode, which many apps cannot do.

I’m still a little aggravated that it is not possible to take a pill to learn a language yet.  I’ve gotten over banks taking away universal checks though.