July 14, 1999 PITTSBURGH -- Carnegie Mellon University scientists and their colleagues in the international Consortium for Speech Translation Advanced Research (C-STAR) will conduct an international video conference to demonstrate a travel planning system on the Web that employs groundbreaking computer speech-to-speech translation technologies that will translate among six languages at six different locations around the world.
The demonstration will highlight research breakthroughs in large vocabulary (more than 10,000 words), spontaneous speech translation systems and in speech recognition and machine translation. The demonstration will feature a Web-based interface for travel planning and also illustrate the role that wearable computers with translating capabilities can play in this area.
In the United States, the demonstration will begin at 11:15 a.m., EDT, Thursday, July 22, in 4625 Wean Hall, on the Carnegie Mellon campus.
Video conference participants will plan trips to Heidelberg, Germany, Kyoto Japan, or New York City, speaking in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Korean. They will converse with each other in their native languages as they plan their trips, while the computer systems in each of their respective laboratories verbally provide the necessary translation of their spoken conversation.
A video link from Carnegie Mellon to Heidelburg will show an American tourist on location using a wearable computer translator to communicate with the local populace. The wearable system not only provides translation, it also will act as a tour guide, and give direction through the Global Positioning System.
In addition to Carnegie Mellon, participants in the demonstration include Advanced Telecommunications Research (ATR), Kyoto, Japan; Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), Taejon, Korea; Communication Langagiere et Interaction Personne-Systeme (CLIPS), University of Grenoble, France; Istituto per la Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica, Istituto Trentino di Cultura (IRST), Trento, Italy, and the Interactive Systems Laboratories at the University of Karlsruhe, with the European Media Laboratory EML, Heidelberg, Germany.
"Speech translation technology has matured to the point of allowing free, spontaneous dialogues using large vocabularies that can be translated into a variety of languages," says C-STAR chairman, Alex Waibel, a professor at Carnegie Mellon1s School of Computer Science and the University of Karlsruhe in Germany. "While earlier demonstrations showed that speech translation is possible, technology at that time permitted only a limited vocabulary and demanded perfect syntax and speaking style. In addition, speech recognition systems have been improved to handle the sloppy speech people produce when talking spontaneously to each other. The ums, urs, interruptions, hesitations and stutterings of spontaneous speech are automatically recognized, filtered and properly prepared for translation."
The C-STAR consortium was established in 1991 to conduct research in spoken language translation. Its founding members included ATR, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Karlsruhe and Siemens, A.G. Today, in addition to the principals, there are more than a dozen affiliates in Europe, Asia, North America and India.
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