18 Object Results


What Language Sounds Like: Wearable Devices in Translation Communication (2019)

Curators: Kristine Ryan, Sue Loly, and Miranda De la Victoria | University of Minnesota | April 2019

Collection Editor: Isabel Pedersen
Acquisitions Editor: Ann Hill Duin
Collection Archivist: Sharon Caldwell

This collection responds to a rising global trend in wearable devices used for language translation and international communication. This developing technology could revolutionize and disrupt the necessity to learn and practice new languages and remove hurdles that have previously existed in global business. With a view to immediacy, users are looking for easy, fast, and convenient ways to communicate in real-time between foreign languages. Some of the claims about it are hopeful, "I think what automatic translation does for us as humans is really open doors" (Waibel, 2018). Innovative companies have been working to bridge the digital divide by developing more user-friendly technologies and by creating opportunities for everyday people to manage real-time communication, despite language barriers.

However, is it enough? How do these technologies affect the other nuances like traditions and cultural behaviors that to date have been such a vital part of intercultural communications? Is raw translation enough? How important are the other cultural dimensions? The ”word meanings don’t match up precisely across languages” and “we generally mean much more than we say” (Haugh, 2017).

The artifacts showcased here consist of wearable devices designed for translating national languages, American Sign Language (ASL), words and thoughts emitted by the brain and through the skin, as well as for translating or manipulating our experiences through Audio Augmented Reality (AuR).


Waibel, A. (2018, July 19). Translation Technology Is Getting Better. What Does That Mean For The Future? (J. Hobson, Interviewer) Retrieved from www.wbur.org: https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2018/07/19/translation-technology-future-language

Haugh, M. (2017, October 17). Retrieved from http://theconversation.com: http://theconversation.com/translation-technology-is-useful-but-should-not-replace-learning-languages-85384

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