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Sony Unveils PSP Translator

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the essential-survival-toold-for-tokyo dept.

Sony 169

jonerik writes "Sony has released software for its popular PSP handheld gaming device called TalkMan. In development for some time now, the program currently stores about 3,000 conversation patterns in English, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. 'A user may speak the words "Koko-wa-dokodesuka?" (Where is this?) in Japanese, for example, into the device's microphone, upon which a cartoon bird acting as an interpreter will pop up and start talking in the user's language. The bird is also able to translate the reply into Japanese.' A European release for TalkMan is expected in the spring."

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potential potential... (5, Funny)

oringo (848629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615886)

Now I don't have to rely on the stupid dubs when watching hentai movies on psp...

Re:potential potential... (2, Funny)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616351)


As an added bonus, it also translates DRM to spyware.

Re:potential potential... (2, Funny)

zpeterz63 (851922) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616902)

Since when do the words in hentia movies matter?

Old news! At least in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14617618)

I saw ads for this all over the trains in Tokyo during my trip there in November. Here's one of them. [smugmug.com]

Re:potential potential... (1)

Grimboy (948054) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617656)

I agree, the main value of hentai is its deep plot.

Decent Games (0, Offtopic)

phase_9 (909592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615888)

Even tho this is old news, I wish Sony / The Publishers would get their act together and release some decent games for the PSP. At the moment, the only good thing to do with them is illegal (homebrew, emuz, etc).

Re:Decent Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615918)

my beautiful opera-singing girlfriend [katybutcher.co.uk]
I put that in my PSP to translate and it came back "Plump round dark haired chick who steals all the cookies..."

Re:Decent Games (1)

Fr05t (69968) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616167)

Apparently you didn't follow the link.. asshat.

Re:Decent Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14616438)

I followed it- she is a large lady.... Not that there is anything wrong with that- More cushion for the pushin' !!!!

Old News Indeed: D-D-D-Double Dupe! (2, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616425)

This has been covered twice on Slashdot already. Twice.

July 12th, 2004 [slashdot.org]
November 26th, 2005 [slashdot.org]

As for decent games: All I ask for is an RPG! A nice RPG!

And if you speak the words... (5, Funny)

ale3ns (453301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615896)

"Koko-wa-dokodesuka-rootkit?"

It replies:

"what rootkit?"

Re:And if you speak the words... (4, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615962)

"Koko-wa-dokodesuka-rootkit?"

...Rutokitto wa nan desssssssss$SYS$
KORE WA RUTOKITTO JA ARIMASEN. REALLY. HONEST.

Re:And if you speak the words... (3, Funny)

Zangief (461457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616226)

Original: "Kawaii! Nintendo DS!"

Translation: "Cool! Sony PSP!"

Re:And if you speak the words... (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616411)

Original: "Kawaii! Nintendo DS!" Translation: "Cool! Sony PSP!"

Sudden flashbacks to perhaps the best bit of translation I ever saw. Evangelion. The episode where Asuka first appears. Kensuke's been let loose on an aircraft carrier and he's going around with his camera getting extremely over-excited looking at all the planes and stuff.

Subtitles: 'Amazing! Cool! Fantastic! Really brilliant! Terrific! Super-brilliant!'... and so on.
Kensuke himself: 'Sugoi! Sugoi! Sugoi! Sugoi! Sugoi! Sugoi! Sugoi! Sugoi! Sugoi!'...

It did make me wonder... is Japanese really so short of excitable superlatives? Or is Kensuke just totally inarticulate?

And if I just keep saying 'sugoi!' to the PSP, will it, too, raid the English thesaurus in order not to appear boring? :)

Re:And if you speak the words... (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616945)

It did make me wonder... is Japanese really so short of excitable superlatives? Or is Kensuke just totally inarticulate?

The second thing.

Which is why they were probably wrong to translate it like that.

He could have said things like "omoshiroi", "subarashii", etc. But he didn't. He was gobsmacked, and his repition of the same adjective over and over was a humorous indicator of his state of mind. Make him sound like a human thesaurus, and you strip that element out of the story.

Re:And if you speak the words... (1)

HAKdragon (193605) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616852)

This reminds me of an N64 game, I think it was "Hey You Pikachu!" where you could interact with Pikachu with a microphone. If you said Playstation he would spaz and have a little electrical seizure.

Re:And if you speak the words... (0)

spooje (582773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617404)

Actually:

kawaii = cute

kakoii = cool

Re:And if you speak the words... (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617561)

I kind of assumed the parent post did that deliberately, as the PSP is far less likely to be called "cute" than the DS.

Re:And if you speak the words... (0)

spooje (582773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617695)

I don't know about that. It sounds like one of those mistakes someone who learns some Japanese through anime would make.

Re:And if you speak the words... (2, Informative)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616464)

Actually, desu ka is used to end a sentence. It's kind of like a verbalized period. It roughly correlates to the "be" verbs in English.

Japanese language [wikipedia.org] is really cool. Verbs always come at the end (hence why desu ka is like a verbalized period - verb at the end of the sentence), and they have very few pronouns and don't use them nearly as much as we do. Their language is VERY dependent on contextual clues. The same word could be used to reference the self, another person, or an inanimate object; in order to differentiate, the circumstance must be taken into account, which may include something like them pointing at the object the word is referencing.

I couldn't even fake being fluent, but my stab in the dark would be
rootkit wa nani desu ka?

The wa particle comes after the word rootkit to signify that rootkit is the subject of the sentence. This is because Japanese can use subject-object-verb or object-subject-verb. So instead of "Joe hit John", it would be "Joe John hit". The particle wa is attached to the subject so that the listener knows who hit who. There's more particles, but I forget most of them.

Nani is roughly translated as what, but there's a few ways to say what.

Re:And if you speak the words... (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616545)

Actually, desu ka is used to end a sentence. It's kind of like a verbalized period. It roughly correlates to the "be" verbs in English.

Actually, it's more like a verbalized question mark.

The "verbalized period" you speak of would be "desu".

Re:And if you speak the words... (1)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616647)

I got pwned.

I thought there was a difference between a statement and a question but I couldn't remember it.

Hence the disclaimer about not really knowing Japanese. Watching fansubbed anime will only get you so far.

Re:And if you speak the words... (2, Insightful)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616792)

To be fair, you, the guy you were correcting, and everybody else in this thread are probably better at translating Japanese than the PSP is likely to be.

A quick look Google's Japan/English tool (beta, of course... this is Google, after all) will confirm that translating correctly between Japanese and English with software is damn near impossible with current technology and programming logic.

Re:And if you speak the words... (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616670)

Oh, and a more accurate romanization of the question you were trying to write (assuming the borrowed word "rootkit" is used) would probably be

ruutokitto wa naN desu ka.

"Nani" means "what", but when it stands on it's own like that (to ask "what is it?") it's almost always shortened to "naN."

(The capitol "N" represents the Japanese nasal sylable, which has pronunciation dictated by the sound which follows it... in this case, it should be pronounced just like the Enlgish "n".)

Re:And if you speak the words... (1)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616953)

Ah, the elusive nan desu ka...now I understand a bit more.

Arigato, Golias-sensei.

I also find it amusing that you translated rootkit into how the Japanese would probably say it. Such is the price they pay for ending all their "syllables" but one with a vowel.

I've never seen a double u before.

Re:And if you speak the words... (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617070)

Arigato, Golias-sensei.

dou itashimashite.

I also find it amusing that you translated rootkit into how the Japanese would probably say it. Such is the price they pay for ending all their "syllables" but one with a vowel.

Japan has a system of converting borrowed words into sounds which can be spelled with the katakana alphabet. It gives their language a great deal of flexibility.

I've never seen a double u before.

Actually that's a RU followed by an U. It's a six sylable word (assuming I nihoNgo-ized the word properly) ru-u-to-ki-t-to.

Re:And if you speak the words... (1)

the chao goes mu (700713) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617184)

Just out of curiosity, how is the stand alone t syllable pronounced? I know consonant only syllables exist in languages (Hebrew has them), but they usually have an attached implict vowel(once again, the hebrew shewa). just curious how that one syllable would sound phonetically.

Re:And if you speak the words... (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617430)

Just out of curiosity, how is the stand alone t syllable pronounced?

It's a stop. You hold the silence of the "t" a moment longer.

The "i" and "u" are "whispered vowels" in Japanese if they appear between two non-voiced consonants. For example, the "u" in "desu ka" is whispered, so to westerners it sounds like "dess ka".

(Note: Some people from certain regions of Japan, most famously near Osaka, sometimes voice the whispered vowels, and might even insist that whispering them is not required by Standard Japanese. This is why Osakans and other characters from the Kansai region of Japan are sometimes depicted in anime translations as having a sort of Southern hillbilly accent in English.)

However, double-consonants also exist. (In hirigana and katakana they are written with a small "tsu" character before the sylable.) It adds a consonant-only sylable. In the case of "T" or "K", it's a moment of extra silence as you hold your tongue on the start of the consonant. If, on the other hand, you apply it to something like "sa" or "shi", then you hold the sibilant sound longer: "ssa" or "sh-shi".

Japanese is very rhythm-based. Each sylable needs a full beat.

Re:And if you speak the words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14616955)

+4 informative from somebody who admittedly isn't fluent? Fascinating.

ka is the question particle - its presence indicates the sentence is actually a question.

"kuruma wa akai desu" - the car is red
"kuruma wa akai desu ka" - is the car red?

nani translates to "what"
doko translates to "where"

"rootkit wa nan desu ka" is "what is the rootkit?"
"rootkit wa doko desu ka" is "where is the rootkit?" (which may be what you really want to ask).

If you want to know what the rootkit is called you might want to ask what its name is

"rootkit no namae wa nan desu ka"

or if you had established through previous conversation you were talking about the rootkit you could leave it out (subject is understood).

Re:And if you speak the words... (1)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617083)

So if the subject is understood, do you still need the wa particle? i.e.

wa nan desu ka?

I wouldn't imagine so. Particles always need a word to be attached to, right?

At least I was mostly right in my statement. Having totally forgotten ka is the question particle and been repeatedly pwned on the slashdot comments, I will never forget again.

Re:And if you speak the words... (1)

rjhall (80887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617706)

Actually, no.
The particle effects the preceding word and has no value on its own.

sore wa nan desu ka -> what is that?
nan desu ka? what is it?

even more odd - the wa particle is actually written with the character for ha. It's pronounced 'wa' though only when used as a particle, so is usually written with the w.

Re:And if you speak the words... (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617744)

The "wa" marker is considered part of the focus, so it is also omitted if the focus in already understood.

(BTW, it's not called a "subject". The marker for subjects in Japanese grammar is "ga". In Japanese, if the noun in what english speakers call a subject is something you can specifically talk about, it's called a "focus", and the focus marker, "wa" is used.)

However, the focus here is not "anata wa" (you.) You're asking for "Your name", so the focus is "anata no namae wa".

But addressing an individual as "anata" is almost always improper, as is using "namae" in reference to the person you are speaking to. You should use "onamae" instead. The correct way to ask "what is your name" is:

onamae wa naN desu ka.

So the post you are replying to isn't completely right either.

Re:And if you speak the words... (1)

the chao goes mu (700713) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617246)

The contextual dropping of pronouns (and even subjects) is hadly unique. All languages tend to drop superfluous words. Think of "ture", which is shothand for "that is true". or the simple conversation:
"He is coming here."
"who?"
The "who" is shorthand for "who is" or even "who is coming here". You simply forget how many words are dropped in english if you speak it every day, while it is more pronounced in unfamiliar languages.
In addition, by not having obvious case/gender endings english is less contracted that many other languages, but you need onyl look at latin or romance languages to see as many dropped pronouns/subjects as in japanese.

Re:And if you speak the words... (1)

the chao goes mu (700713) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617265)

If I could type, that "ture" would read "true".

Re:And if you speak the words... (1)

larkost (79011) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616484)

Minor note... Japanese grammar is different than English grammar (imagine that...), so the subject (and nearly everything else) goes before the verb. Hence:

rootkit wa doku desu ka?

Re:And if you speak the words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14616533)

Say: "Rootkit"

Translation: "Microsoft fanboys' way of discreetly bashing their competitor while looking objective"

Re:And if you speak the words... (2, Funny)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616718)

"Koko-wa-dokodesuka-rootkit?"

You just said "Where is here? Rootkit."

This Is More Correct (2, Informative)

juancnuno (946732) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617231)

Rootkit ga doko desu ka?

No, it's not. (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617805)

iie, chigaimasu.

"Rootkit ga" is incorrect, because rootkit works as a focus, even though you are asking where it is. You only use "ga" as a subject marker when you can't use the noun as a focus. The correct marker in that sentence is "wa."

1 ! (-1, Offtopic)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615917)

1 !

Re:1 ! (0, Offtopic)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615941)

Wow!

Slashdot translates chinese really well!?

I actually posted "First Translated post!" in chinese but its been interpreted somewhat differently.

I can see it now... (4, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615922)

'A user may speak the words "Koko-wa-dokodesuka?" (Where is this?) in Japanese, for example, into the device's microphone, upon which a cartoon bird acting as an interpreter will pop up and start talking in the user's language.

Popular phrases used to test the device are "Polly wants a cracker?", "I thought I saw a putty-tat!", and "I did! I did see a putty-tat!" To date, most American users are put off by the device's inability to translate "putty-tat", a common term for the average house cat. Sony has promised to take a look at this issue.

Re:I can see it now...Putty-tat (3, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616016)

most American users are put off by the device's inability to translate "putty-tat"

Putty-tat is owned by Warner Brothers Studio, part of AOL Time Warner. If you think that ATW is going to license a competing studio -- Sony -- to use their intellectual property then you are crazier than Daffy Duck (also owned by ATW, and emphatically not licensed for use in this Slashdot post.)

Bluetooth earpieece.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615929)

It is rumored that the bluetooth ear piece resembles a small yellow fish.. The user by placing the earpiece into their ear canal can now understand all language, and though logic unbeknownst to us, disproves the existance of god.

Re:Bluetooth earpieece.. (1)

stanwirth (621074) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615963)

the bluetooth ear piece resembles a small yellow fish..

AKA the Babelfish! Woo-Hoo! Thank You! Grazie! Gracias! Tak! Merci!

Re:Bluetooth earpieece.. (1)

wheany (460585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616596)

REALLY? WOW!

Re:Bluetooth earpieece.. (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616432)

Mind that zebra crossing mate. Dangerous, they are.

Soon to be followed by (2, Funny)

Saint37 (932002) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615937)

Next Sony will probably make the announcement that they will own all conversations facilitated by the PSP. They will implement DRM to enforce this. Should you want to playback your conversation, you will need to rent it.

http://www.commodore69.com/ [commodore69.com]

Paperclip? (2, Insightful)

XMilkProject (935232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615946)

This is actually really slick. I hate to support Sony nowadays, but this is exactly the sort of utility that will make hardware like the PSP more useful to people. Hopefully in the near future all our PDA's and Cellphones will be able to translate live as we talk.

I hope theres an option to have a talking Paperclip though, I'd feel more at home with that. <sarcasm/>

Let me know when its in a device that will fit in my ear :)

Re:Paperclip? (1)

uradu (10768) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616402)

Actually, the killer replacement skin for the bird is the translating pimp: yo man, where dis, know what I'm sayin'?

Re:Paperclip? (1)

sehryan (412731) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617572)

"...this is exactly the sort of utility that will make hardware like the PSP more useful to people."

As opposed to, you know, playing games.

Re:Paperclip? (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617735)

"But Muuuuum, I neeeed one for my homework"

Dual use stuff has more chance of being bought. Hence all those Uk games consoles with keyboards in the 80's.

Mind you, more people learnt to program on them than almost anything else, so it's not completely untrue. And it's not as if they were designed to be games consoles exclusively either.

Re:Paperclip? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14617967)

Dual Use Goods are a slightly different thing. You wouldn't be able to export it too ;)

Kind of Neat! (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615949)

Now the PSP gaming networks will be filled with people mangling Japanese, Russian and any of 25 or so Indian languages instead of just English.

Still, I think it's that people will be able to play video games with people from the other side of the world ("It's night-time by you, right?" "No, noon.") without having to learn another language.

Re:Kind of Neat! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14616231)

You'd still have to learn English.

News? (4, Informative)

CMiYC (6473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615953)

You've been able to import this from Lik-Sang for quite some time now. In fact, here is their hands on review [lik-sang.com] from Nov.

Forgot to Add, There are Tons of Screen Shots... (1)

CMiYC (6473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616105)

message in topic...

I can see it now .... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615956)

speaker: our inspectors are seeking instances of non compliance
translation: All your base are belong to us!

speaker: I have some thoughts I've been formulating about that subject
translation: FIRST PROST!

speaker: Excuse me, but you are beautiful, I know I'm a nerd, but would you go out with me?
translation: Please hold still long enough to get a camera photo of you to whack off to later while I dream about you all alone in front of my $8000 hand built gaming computer.

speaker: I'm writing a new application that uses windows, icons, menus, and pointers.
translation: Could you please point me to the nearest IP attorney so I can file some patents?

Phrase Test (0)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615968)

Can you query: Where is the p0rn?

Re:Phrase Test (2, Interesting)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616038)

Can you query: Where is the p0rn?

Sure. My Japanese is restricted to what I pick up from anime, but the phrase here was fairly simple:

'Koko wa doko desu ka'

'Doko desu ka' means 'where is it?'. Whatever you stick before 'wa' is the it to which 'doko desu ka' refers. 'Koko' is 'here', so the question is effectively 'where is here?' or in better English, 'where is this?'

So, you want p0rn? Simple. 'P0rn wa doko desu ka'. Except that you'll probably have to spell it in Japanese lettering at some point, so 'Porunno wa doko desu ka' might be the way forward :)

Re:Phrase Test (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616084)

'Koko wa doko desu ka'

I won't ask how often this as come in handy for you.

Now all we need is the other n languages supported by the translator.

Thx!

Re:Phrase Test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14616286)

"Poruno", not "porunno". But what he's probably looking for would use the "ero" root - "ero-manga", "ero-anime", "ero-eiga" and so forth.

BTW, can't be bothered to make two posts, so going slightly OT here: this thing is not a translator, at least not in the sci-fi. It's a talking phrasebook. It might be able to translate "which way to the station?", but I seriously doubt it'll be able to handle "which train do I catch to go to Akihabara".

Re:Phrase Test (1)

ookaze (227977) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616854)

So, you want p0rn? Simple. 'P0rn wa doko desu ka'. Except that you'll probably have to spell it in Japanese lettering at some point, so 'Porunno wa doko desu ka' might be the way forward :)

Huh ?
Doko is for places. I don't even know if they will understand p0rn, and they will start figuring out if there is a place named 'poruno'. As your japanese is what you picked from anime, you should have figured out that p0rn is dubbed 'H' ('etchi' in japanese) for hentai.
And for things, aru is the verb for general things, so : 'hentai ha doko arimasu ka' would be more correct I think ...

Re:Phrase Test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14617515)

...
don't critisize without learning first.

Ecchi wa doko?
(Porn is where?/Where is the porn?)

Ecchi wa doko desu ka?
(Porn is where?)

Ecchi wa doko ga aru ka?
(Porn is where?)

Ecchi wa doko ga arimasu ka?
(Porn is where?)

All the above mean the same thing. If the translator can't handle the multiple levels of politeness in Japanese, we'll never know where the porn is.

Useful in the US? (0, Troll)

guice (907163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615970)

Granted, it might be useful in the Asian countries, but in the US? Maybe the European version will have more useful langauges for the US culture: Hindi

I'm glad (3, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615984)

A user may speak the words "Koko-wa-dokodesuka?" (Where is this?) in Japanese, for example, into the device's microphone, upon which a cartoon bird acting as an interpreter will pop up and start talking in the user's language. The bird is also able to translate the reply into Japanese.'

I'm glad that Bonzi Buddy has been able to find a new job.

Re:I'm glad (1)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616800)

Lesser known fact: the purple gorilla used to be a green parrot.

Re:I'm glad (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617318)

Bonzai Buddy is an application that uses Microsoft Agent. Microsoft Agent is a technology that can be used to give 'character' to an application. It is used as the basis of the XP search assisant, the Office Assistant (the newer ones that are not enclosed in a window), And even the little question mark thing that appears the first time you boot into Windows XP after installation (or after sysprep).

Microsoft created (or at least holds the rights to) may characters. Some are fairly application specific not having a fairly complete set of aninimations. But Microsoft also has four general purpose characters, one of which is the green parrot named Peedy.

For more information see: http://www.microsoft.com/msagent/default.asp [microsoft.com]

no wonder it understands twice as much japanese (3, Insightful)

dhardisty (914014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616010)

"The technology is said to be able to translate some 50,000 Japanese words and 25,000 English words." I'm not surprised this thing was invented in japan -- since japanese only has 5 basic vowel sounds and no consonant clusters, it must be easier for the software to encode. That, and it makes sense to support the language of the people you are marketing it to.

Old news (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14616011)

This game has already been on shelves for a long time in Japan. I suppose it could be used as a translator, but it's definitely not useful as something a person could quickly pull out to get a translation. That talking bird is annoying as hell -- think going through 3 menus just to get to clippy. Barf. You also need to have an awkward mic plugged into the USB port that renders all carrying cases useless.

What's cool about this game isn't its ability to translate, but moreso its capacity to correct pronunciation until it's perfect. The game is really stellar at correcting a person's pronunciation and intonation in each language. I imagine it's also a great way to learn some basic phrases before going somewhere.

There's a really neat game that just came out for the DS that focuses on dictation. The game will say an English sentence, for example, and the player must write that sentence onto the screen as quickly as possible with the stylus. The Japanese have all sorts of neat language and "edutainment" games -- too bad we don't get in on the fun in the West.

Futurama (5, Funny)

Roj Blake (931541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616013)

Unfortunately so far it only translates into an incomprehensible dead language.

Speaks into PSP: Konichiwa
Reply from PSP: Bonjour

Re:Futurama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14616085)

Wow. After all this time posted and not one Monty Python reference.....

OK, here goes.....

We all know that it will translate "Konichiwa" to;

"My hovercraft is full of eels...."

Flamebait? (2, Informative)

Roj Blake (931541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616569)

It's just a futurama joke!

Were the French translators [wikipedia.org] of the show flamebaiting when they changed the joke so that German was the dead language? No, it's just a joke.

Bite my shiny daffodil ass!

Sad News Today. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14616015)

It seems that Slashdot darling Google GOOG [yahoo.com] has come to the end of its irrational and meteoric climb . It what seems to be another tech bubble burst as Google's stock price fell more than 12% in after hours trading Tuesday [yahoo.com] because of lower than expected earnings reports for that last quarter. Google shares continue to fall today, already don another 9% and further sliding is expected due to a UBS downgrade [yahoo.com] it is causing a ripple effect on the Nasdaq.

Thus far this down turn has resulted in a market capitalization loss in excess of $25 Billion for Google. This is really big news! But, since it is heresy to the Google fan boyz, Slashdot is completely silent on the matter a marked turn around from yesterday where Slashdot had three breathlessly positive announcements of Google's recent activities on its front page!

what about Hungarian? (4, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616071)

My hovercraft is full of eels.

Re:what about Hungarian? (2, Informative)

dhardisty (914014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616157)

The Hungarian phrase meaning "Can you direct me to the station?" is translated by the English phrase, "Please fondle my bum."

read the complete transcript... [uibk.ac.at]

Good (0, Offtopic)

Ikyaat (764422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616075)

This is awsome! The next time I'm surrounded by metal munching sharks I can speak "Bah weep granna weep ninny bon" into my psp and I wont get thrown into a pit full of sharktacons.

European (4, Funny)

MagicM (85041) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616110)

A European release for TalkMan is expected in the spring.

Oh goodie! I've always wanted to learn to speak European!

Does it do Hungarian? (5, Funny)

Bob McCown (8411) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616207)

I do not want this tobacconist, it is scratched.

Re:Does it do Hungarian? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616970)

Down the road, second on the left and 3rd door past the chip shop.

the bird of youth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14616236)

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come

After the DRM debacle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14616259)

There's no way I'm getting one, even if they'd release a patch that made it fetch beer.

I wouldn't trust this particular translator (1)

joebob1000 (951214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616374)

I am surprised that more slashdotters don't speak Japanese, and also surprised that a Japanese writer made this dumb mistake (chonbo), but Koko means "here", and Kore means "this". The phrase really says "Where is here?". To say "Where is this?", you would say "Kore wa, doko desu ka?" I am nitpicking only because the thing is a translator, and it makes the nonsensical sentence. I can't wait to see the actual translator. Inoue-san...nandekota!!

Accuracy ? (1)

ookaze (227977) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616384)

I don't pretend to know English or Japanese very well as none are my native language, but isn't the correct translation for "Koko ha doko desu ka" actually "Where am I", with the meaning "what is this place I'm standing in right now ?" ?
Is "Where is this ?" equivalent to "Where am I ?" in american ?
Does the translation come from the device or from the news submitter ?
I'm confused.

It's good that the software seems so advanced.
What cost will it have though ?

Re:Accuracy ? (1)

Tiroth (95112) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616520)

It literally means "where is here?" It could have multiple glosses depending on the context.

Re:Accuracy ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14616592)

In American English "Where is this?" is generally equivalent to "Where am I?" as it is a grammatical short-cut for "Where is this (place in which I am standing)?" It's assumed based on context, incedentally like much of the Japanese language.

Re:Accuracy ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14616680)

if it were "where am I?" it would have been "Watashi wa doko desu ka?", with "Watashi" being "I". "Koko"="this", "Soko"="that", so if you wanted to ask, according to previous conversational context, where "that" is (where "that" is a lamp, a DS, a PSP, a place etc and has been established), you would say "Soko wa doko desu ka?"

Japanese is a very interesting language to learn.

Why is this news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14616515)

Why is this news? This "game" has been out for several months in Japan:

* The mic is actually quite slick looking ...
* Of limited use as a learning tool due to rather limited scope of topics that are translatable.
* Voice recognition needs improvement!
* Loan times are a bitch!

Check out Sony's site (1)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616635)

Go to the official site [playstation.jp] and click on the whities. The video is hilarious proof of why this product is totally worthless as a translator, yet hilariously awesome.

"Shumi wa nan desuka?"
(What do you like to do?)
"I, like, to, eat!"
(Can you describe it with gestures?)

Disgrace.

Then in the end, the Japanese guy hooks up with a girl with an Italian accent. Hmm, Italy's public education system apparently can teach English, so what's Japan's problem? (Don't answer that.)

Question (1)

kadathseeker (937789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616719)

Okay, the PSP is sexy, Sony, yes I think it's pretty. But what can I do with it besides watch mostly crappy movies, listen to music that I already have on my smaller iPod, or put pr0n on? Where are the GAMES? What is your killer app? What are the must-have games? I have never seen someone playing anything besides Lumines on a PSP. Everyone I know with a DS has a ton of games that kick ass. Don't you have something better to be doing, Sony, than making translators and rootkits? How about games or finishing the PS3? Ranting aside, if you own a PSP, kill anyone you have to to get the PSP remake of the best RPG of all time, Valkyrie Profile. And if you own a PS2, buy the sequel, Valkyrie Profile Silmeria. And if you like the music, download (since you will be broke after buying both games you'll have to wait till payday to buy) Dimmu Borgir.

Re:Question (1)

rabbot (740825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617810)

Every time someone refers to a piece of hardware as "sexy", the Flying Spaghetti Monster kills a kitten.

"Mei you wei sheng zhi... mei you wei sheng zhi" (1)

Laconian (578463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616798)

(gets TP thrown at me)

Arabic (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616820)

Too bad it doesn't do arabic. I know at least 140,000 customers that could really use it, like, yesterday.

OLD NEWS! (0, Offtopic)

umijin (882948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14616984)

C'mon - this is old, outdated news by internet standards. At least two months old and not worth posting so late. Yeah, it's pretty cool software - but we knew about it LONG ago.

Not machine translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14617241)

It doesn't actually translate anything. It's an electronic phrase book that uses speech recognition to try to decide which phrase you are trying to say.

There are a fixed number of phrases that it knows the translations for and that is all you get. You also have to set the domain properly first. So it won't recognize any food related questions when you have it set to the Travel domain.

It's a complete waste of money when compared to existing electronic phrase books which are more comprehensive and much faster.

TalkBoy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14617451)

TalkMan... not to be confused with the TalkBoy from Home Alone

Mr. Sparkle Translation Expected (1)

Eradicator2k3 (670371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617486)

'A user may speak the words "Koko-wa-dokodesuka?" (Where is this?) in Japanese, for example, into the device's microphone, upon which a cartoon bird acting as an interpreter will pop up and start talking in the user's language.

Unfortunately, while the bird speaks in the user's language it will translate the aforementioned "Koko-wa-dokodesuka?" as "I'm disrespectful to dirt! Can you see I am serious?"

Awesome!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14617503)

Next up, how about some good games?

Translator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14617533)

You mean I wont need to use http://translation2.paralink.com/ [paralink.com] anymore?
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