According to the statistics from the National Tourism Bureau of China, the number of outbound Chinese tourists had exceeded 140 million in year 2018, and the total amount of their overseas consumptions reached 135.29 billion USD, maintaining China’s status as the world’s largest source of outbound tourists for years. In addition to the growth of the overall size of the outbound numbers, the customized itineraries, independent travelling, niche destinations etc. had become the new trends in China’s outbound tourism market. The huge popularity of travelling overseas has become a strong catalyst for the translation machine and translation APP market. Of course, as for the future prospects of the translation machine and APP market, and what kind of development bottlenecks they might face in the future, the current data is still unable to enable us to make any concrete conclusion yet.
In recent years, iFlyTek, one of the top players in AI and language technology in China, has been actively and proactively strengthening its multidimensional presence in the AI-based voice interaction. Today, iFlyTek has come up with a new killer tool — iFlyTek’s latest language interpretation product, “iFlyTek 2.0 Translator”, a handheld device which supports instant translation & interpretation between Chinese and 33 foreign languages, and will benefit greatly for those outbound tourists who do not have the luxury of language talents. We humans get 80 percent of their information from sight, but 90 percent of their output comes from speech. For machines, the fastest way to output information is to display a variety of complex (graphics, text) display screen. Since the fastest way of human output is speech, the fastest way of machine and human interaction to receive information is also naturally the “voice”.
About this translator machine developed by iFlyTek, many people have expressed their doubts since its launch — “Why should it be made into a hardware when it could come in the form of an APP software? There are a great many nice language APPs out there on our smart phones already, aren’t there?” Robert Hu, Executive President of iFlyTek and President of consumer BG, gave elaborations for the top three reasons why iFlyTek insists on producing a hardware machine instead of compete with other translator APPs.
Firstly, this handset performs better in picking up human voice and screening out the noise – it’s “cleverer” in restoring the real scene. Generally, the scenes that need to be translated are noisy, and the sound pickup setting of the ordinary mobile phone is to suppress the far field and enlarge the near. The noisy environment exceeds the hardware requirements of the translation APP on the mobile phone to process the language scenes. The handset, on the other hand, uses a noise-cancelling disilicon wheat and a high-fidelity speaker to ensure accurate sound pickup and playback in a noisy environment.
Secondly, this handheld little device supports one-click switch-on for instant language interpretation. Compared with the translation APP, the handset is more convenient to use, with one physical button and simple operation. Moreover, with the NMT Offline Engine, the Translator 2.0 can also switch to offline translation when there is no telecom signal, so that translation can be completed at anytime and anywhere with one single click. Even the elderlies who are not sensitive to new technologies can easily master it.
Thirdly, an independent hardware that respects people’s privacy. Translation APP needs to use mobile phone as the carrier, which the mobile phone is usually the carrier of people’s privacy. The use of mobile phones APP for translation, would naturally give rise to the concern and worry about private information leaking. On the other hand, an independent handset device containing no private information would help establish some reasonable and comfortable social connection between two strangers who meet each other just a few seconds ago. Upon further discussion, we can see that the value conversion ability of translation technologies, be it the standalone translation handsets or APPs installed on smart phones, still have amazing performances. Take the APP with online human translation service represented by Youdao Translation as an example. According to some report, Youdao announced last year that Chinese and English human translation requests exceeded 1 million orders! We can see that the language demands from the C-End and B-End are still very strong online, although the C-End translation needs may appear a bit more dispersed, B-End demand mainly focused on offline, but with the rise of the crowdsourcing models, online translation of professional translators and response speed has been as good as offline. In the long run, due to the optimization of online translation efficiency and results, there is no doubt that we will see the steady growth of c-end translation demand. Driven by this part of user traffic and the advantage of online translation price, it is not inconceivable that B-end demand will grow explosively in the future. Obviously, the commercialization potential of translation technology has been proven by some companies, and everyone is still trying to dig into this huge gold mine.