As technology is gaining traction in the everyday lives of billions of people worldwide, the globe is quickly shrinking. With people travelling further and further away and others moving to entirely new countries for new opportunities, the language barrier is now the greatest hurdle that needs to be overcome in order to fully integrate this global society, both for business and pleasure. It would be reckless to disregard the importance of multilingual mobile apps, having a translation application that can allow two users to communicate effectively. Spanish language applications have recently found a greater share of the market, many moving beyond basic translations to offer a truly immersive experience.
Speaktoit, for both iPhone and Android, engages users in a natural sounding personal assistant that is very similar to Siri but much more developed. The Spanish version of Speaktoit brings into the market 400 million native Spanish speakers globally and with the English speaking version being named one of the top ten Android apps of the year it is likely that the Spanish version will be quick to follow. Speaktoit’s Spanish language version gives users the ability to interact with Jane, the personal assistant which sets notifications, asks questions, and perform tasks such as launching apps and posting on social media.
AT&T offers a free Android and iPhone translation app that “automatically recognizes which language is being spoken and translates in real time,” leaving the interface easy to use as you don’t have to switch between languages. If you’re in Spain, have the person speaking to you speak directly into the Smartphone, and it will translate back into English, when you reply it will repeat it in Spanish and is a “pioneering speech recognition engine and platform.” AT&T Translator also allows text to speech translation, natural language processing and voice search. Engadget,which reviewed the app, found the demo provided by AT&T to be impressive and a step towards the future of the field.
Dragon Dictation is powered by Dragon NaturallySpeaking and is a voice recognition program offered in several languages, including Spanish for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It has an easy to use interface that is incredibly simple with just the option to “Tap and Dictate,” on the screen, as well as the option to use the keyboard and when recording it clearly displays “Recording…” and a large “Done,” option at the bottom of the screen. Macworld said this about the program: “Dragon Dictation is shaping up to be the essential voice app for the iPhone and iPod touch. You say the words and they appear as you say them with remarkable accuracy,” and even better, it is free through the iTunes store.
A La Mano
Telemundo, a Spanish language United States based television station under the NBC Universal parent company released a group of iPhone applications in 2010, which at the time was an untapped market for mobile phone applications. The app, “A La Mano,” uses Local Solutions Network Mobile’s Local Wireless media-to-mobile platform which offers content and information and is an “extension of our stations newscasts and the service and information we provide our community. It’s only logical that we do this since mobile devices are the primary form of communication for US Hispanics,” Enrique Perez, the Senior Vice President of Sales at Telemundo Station Group in New York told reporters when the application was released. While the app was initially launched only through the Apple App Store in two versions: Telemundo Novelas and Deportes Telemundo now Telemundo Novelas and Telemundo 30 Noticias Mcallen are now available on Android devices.
Earlier this year Univision launched Noticias Univision based on the broadcaster’s TV brand of the same name and website and represents the latest example of a broadcasting company tapping into their audience deeper by expanding its online and TV content offerings through both an Apple and Android application. This application, which is currently free, along with entertainment, music, and television news, offers several versions, dedicated to sports, cooking and video and uses advertising as a means of revenue stream. The app, while available to users, is still developing with “Tu Camera,” which will be a citizen journalist feature and “Tu Opinion,” which integrates social features into the application.
Technology is quickly changing, and the advent of Spanish language applications is opening up the field to a larger population and creating more opportunity where previously the market was not existent. By the creation of high quality apps meant to bridge the barrier for language translation the developers are making it easier for people to connect and interact. When the iPhone 4S was released, Siri, the personal assistant was an instant hit, developers have upped the ante and created Jane, a person assistant who is better at Siri’s job than Siri currently is. The innovation that drives the market will only do one thing – make it much better for all of us to use together.