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Not so much a thought experiment as a single neuron misfire.
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Phonecams can rapidly beam images, and the phone holder can then hold to phone to her ear to receive comments from the receiver. This could be parlayed into a translation service for places like the New York Natural History Museum and other places with lots of text in one language but a multilingual
The person with the phone takes a pic of the text. By virtue of some preprogrammed commands (language seen, language desired) this picture is routed to the translator who then reads it in the desired language. This avoids trouble with computerized translation.
Such a service could be available anywhere handheld photocams can be used.
USA Today: It's all in the translation
"IBM's working on a gizmo that will let you understand menus, street signs and other text....computers use language recognition software to analyze the picture and translate the sign into English. The translation is sent wirelessly back to the handheld device...." [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]
||An automated version of this, which uses OCR to "read" the sign and translation software to translate it, has been prototyped by a researcher at IBM. See link.