People vs. Robots – What Babelverse is really about

People vs. Robots – What Babelverse is really about

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We get hundreds of amazing emails everyday. The majority are extremely enthusiastic about Babelverse and people are eager to participate as interpreters or actually start using it. Others just don’t get what we are doing. Take this one for instance:

Subject: Don’t use human translators

Message: Hi, Cool app! Have a suggestion.

– Mobile internet is costly in roaming.
– English is #1 language globally. So, 80% of interactions could include English.

– Create an application that will record English speach, convert to text, translate to Local language and say via text-to-speech.

Not great quality. But see on the market and cost sides.
– Big market
– Low costs (no variable costs!)
– Scalability!!!

Monetisation: sell whole application ($1-10).

This is exactly what Babelverse is not about. We’re building a global community of people that can mutually help each other communicate regardless of language, and certainly not an automated smartphone app set up to make a quick buck.

Babelverse relies on people to preserve the quality, context, cultural relevance, tone and emotion of the spoken word. Much better than any algorithm! Machine translation is just not reliable for real conversations.

Some of the companies that have taken the automated approach are apparently realising that it doesn’t really work, take this tweet by the creators of a machine-powered voice translation app (currently #1 in the US App Store – their user reviews are an interesting read btw).

We mentioned them during our presentation on-stage at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC last week:

Here’s their response:

Also, while English (or rather, Globish) is being used by many people around the world to communicate across borders, we think this is not the ideal solution. Communication becomes poorer when two people are speaking in languages other than their native tongue, they are forced to use only a subset of available vocabulary, etc. We also believe that the diversity of languages contains much richness, it shapes how people think, act and interact in different cultures. Humanity has a lot to gain in preserving this, and much to lose if we move towards just speaking one language. There are many scientific and philosophical papers about this, but we’ll start by recommending this great science-fiction book: Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein.

People vs. Robots. Whose side are you?

– Josef & Mayel, Founders of Babelverse

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4 thoughts on People vs. Robots – What Babelverse is really about

  1. Efi Latifi says:

    Mayel I still  remember when you first told me your idea in Greece, and I see now the way you both developed, it is amazing! I am so proud and happy for both of you! I live in Philadelphia now , very close to New York ! I could host you both here!  Efi L. from Greece

  2. It’s about really social as I say. Bringing people back together offline and using technology not in a way to replace experiences but to augment them!

  3. […] While no one can predict how fast these kind of projects will progress, it’s difficult to see automatic translation going beyond helping users “get by.” It’s similar to tourists who have taken a few language lessons – with crude vocabulary and persistent errors in tense, prosody, and grammar. The same is true for voice translation apps. […]