If you get lost driving in a foreign country, or if you want to read a menu that's written in another language, there'll soon be a pocket-sized solution for you.
In a few months, RantNetwork
will launch a unique image and text translation service that functions as a Blackberry application. Subscribers can use their phone to snap a picture of a foreign road sign or a restaurant menu and within seconds receive a text message translation into the language of their choice.
The Bloomsburg-based company, which recently received an investment of $34,995 from Ben Franklin Technology Partners, is partnering with a several major telecom companies worldwide to release their patented "communilator" application, currently in soft release for testing.
"It's basically a mobile phone with language translation capability," says CEO Kenneth Volet. "There's always been a lot of translation devices out there, but there's nothing out there that has this level of sophistication."
The service, targeted to business travelers and vacationers, provides both image translation (for road signs or menus) and text translation. To use the latter, you select a source language and a target language, then either type out what you want translated or copy it from a document. In a matter of seconds, the program translates the source text into the target language. The application includes a program that can read the text back to you in whatever language you choose.
But what makes the service truly powerful, says Volet, is that rather than having an application that resides on your cell, the service connects your phone to RantNetwork servers, which are integrated with top language translation engines worldwide.
The company, which is about two years old and currently employs half a dozen people, expects "explosive growth" in the coming year that will expand the full-time staff to about 17 people and bring in revenues of about $2 million, Volet says. Source: Kenneth Volet, CEO of Rant NetworkWriter: John Davidson
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