Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Seinfeld-In-Spanish Possible, Thanks To SFU Software

Date:
July 17, 1998
Source:
Simon Fraser University
Summary:
Spanish-speaking television viewers in Central and South America will soon be able to watch and understand their favorite U.S. sitcom or soap opera thanks to software developed by two Simon Fraser University researchers.

Spanish-speaking television viewers in Central and South America will soon be able to watch and understand their favorite U.S. sitcom or soap opera thanks to software developed by two Simon Fraser University researchers.

Related Articles


And tourists going to Mexico, or points further south, may eventually hold the solution to the language barrier in the palm of their hands.

SFU linguist Paul McFetridge and computer scientist Fred Popowich have done what most computer textbooks describe as impossible. They have developed software that translates the English closed captions included with TV and video signals originally intended for the deaf, into Spanish in real time for display as subtitles.

"Any introductory machine-language textbook will say it's impossible, that it can't be done," says McFetridge. "But we have developed an application where the translation doesn't have to work perfectly."

McFetridge worked with Popowich, in collaboration with TCC Communications Corp. of Victoria, B.C., to develop the software for the burgeoning Central and South American market. Over the past several years, U.S. satellites have aimed television programming at South America, but, for programs like soap operas and sitcoms, it is too expensive to create Spanish subtitles manually the way movie-makers do.

What distinguishes this software from other translation programs is its ability to handle every day conversation. "Most other software is designed for a specific use," McFetridge explains. "For example a Japanese electronics manufacturer may want to translate a VCR manual. What distinguishes this software from any other product or research is that it can translate unlimited discourse."

He says that the secret to its success is its accuracy rate. Marketing studies show that unilingual Spanish speakers can't distinguish between 85 per cent accuracy and 100 per cent. The software developed by McFetridge and Popowich is more than 80 per cent accurate.

"A person watching a movie has more context than just subtitles -- like visuals and story continuity -- so if the text doesn't quite make sense, they can still follow the story," McFetridge explains.

The two SFU professors are also working on other applications for the software. They believe it can be used in the next, more powerful generation of hand-held, palm-top computers by setting it up for tourists visiting Spanish-speaking countries. A tourist, by speaking into the computer, would ask specific questions such as a request for food or a hotel room and the computer would translate and "speak" the request in Spanish.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Simon Fraser University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Simon Fraser University. "Seinfeld-In-Spanish Possible, Thanks To SFU Software." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/07/980717084017.htm>.
Simon Fraser University. (1998, July 17). Seinfeld-In-Spanish Possible, Thanks To SFU Software. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/07/980717084017.htm
Simon Fraser University. "Seinfeld-In-Spanish Possible, Thanks To SFU Software." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/07/980717084017.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

No, A Google Exec Did Not Predict An Internet Apocalypse

No, A Google Exec Did Not Predict An Internet Apocalypse

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) — Earlier this week, a Google exec made headlines for saying "the Internet will disappear," but that doesn&apos;t quite mean what it sounds like. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tim Cook Made 8 Times Less Than Another Apple Exec In 2014

Tim Cook Made 8 Times Less Than Another Apple Exec In 2014

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) — Tim Cook&apos;s total compensation more than doubled in 2014 to $9.2 million, but his pay was still less than four other Apple executives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) — A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NTSB: Missing Planes' Black Boxes Should Transmit Wirelessly

NTSB: Missing Planes' Black Boxes Should Transmit Wirelessly

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) — In light of high-profile plane disappearances in the past year, the NTSB has called for changes to make finding missing aircraft easier. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins