On Wednesday, Internet giant Baidu launched an artificial intelligence tool that can translate English into Chinese and German in real time to challenge Google's competing products.
So far, many online translation services allow users to say or write a sentence, but the translation process is still lagging behind. By contrast, Baidu's so-called instant translation tool can translate sentences as they are spoken - a bit like simultaneous interpretation.
This product is a major breakthrough for Baidu. The company has invested heavily in artificial intelligence over the past few years, hoping to build on that foundation the company's future business.
So-called natural language processing, the ability of machines to understand human languages, has been developing rapidly and is a key technology that can be integrated into most products, especially voice assistants.
And voice technology seems increasingly to be a major battleground for technology giants, including Amazon, Apple and Google.
At present, Baidu's translation tools can only translate English to Chinese, or translate English and German into English.
New translation products
Baidu is the largest search engine in China and is often compared with Google. Google has previously launched a Pixel Buds product, which is believed to be capable of real-time translation. A year later, Baidu also launched its own translation product.
Baidu hopes to integrate AI translation into its own wireless translation tools, said Liang Huang, the company's chief scientist. The company will also use this technology to translate the speech at Baidu World annual conference. This year's Baidu World annual conference will be held in Beijing in November 1st.
But Liang said that the company did not intend to transplant the technology to other products such as voice assistant. "We're still trying to improve the technology to make it available to the public, but we don't know when it will happen." He said.
Baidu also acknowledged the limitations of its own translation tools, saying it could not replace human interpreters for the time being.
"We hope this AI technology can reduce the pressure of human interpreters. We are not trying to replace human interpreters, and in the future we will continue to rely on them to provide more consistent and accurate translation on important occasions. Liang Huang said. (wood)
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