This “Smart Mask” Can Translate Japanese Into Eight Languages

Japanese start-up Donut Robotics has elevated the face mask category by creating a “smart” version capable of translating and transmitting messages from Japanese into eight other languages. The “c-mask” (made from plastic and worn over a regular cloth mask) connects to an app on your phone or tablet “that can transcribe speech into text messages, make calls, or amplify the mask wearer’s voice.” While the …

Google Launches Assistant Interpreter Mode

Available today on iOS and Android, Interpreter Mode translates conversations in real time through a process similar to Google’s preexisting Translate page. According to the company, the feature can be prompted by saying phrases like, “Hey Google, help me speak Thai” or “Hey Google, be my German translator.” Simply recite a phrase and an automated process will translate it and play it back in the …

English and More of the World’s “Weirdest” Languages

Using information from the World Atlas of Language Structures, researchers surveyed the features of 239 languages to determine which are “weirdest”—meaning in sound, the number of features and sentence construction. Out of 239, English ranked 33rd. Citing its abnormally high number of phenomes (most languages have around 25, but English has 44) and the odd way English-speakers assemble questions, the study unbiasedly shows how English …