Sharp Electronics showed a space-age level universal translator device this week at the CEATEC show.
The iPod-size device is still under development, but the working model on the show floor was capable of translating English to Japanese and Japanese to English. Once a person spoke into the device it would take several seconds and then the speech recognition software, developed by Sharp, would create a text version of what was said and show it on a small screen. After several more seconds the user could press a button and the translation would be spoken by the unit.
The translator can also contain many pre-recorded sayings that can be played back at the touch of the button. The sayings would be basic requests that a tourist might need while traveling.
At this time only the English/Japanese version has been completed. According to a Sharp spokeswoman, it will eventually be released first into the Japanese market and then possibly to the United States. Pricing and availability have not been set.