Michael J. Mintz writes for No Camels.
Haifa-based company called Lexifone is releasing its star product December, “an
advanced automatic interpretation/translation software, all without the need for
an Internet connection or even a Smartphone.”
allows people to have regular conversations, in different languages. When one
party speaks, what they say is automatically translated into the other person’s
language and vice versa.
The service will begin with English, Spanish and
Italian and the company plans on rolling out many more languages in the near
future such as French, German, Portuguese, and major East Asian languages like
Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.
Lexifone differs from other similar
software in a variety of ways. Unlike Smartphone apps like Google Translate,
Lexifone does not require an internet connection. All that is needed is a
standard telephone connection either through mobile, landline or VoiP. It also
allows for continuous automatic translation, which most applications cannot
The technology works through Lexifone’s own computer servers, which
run a sophisticated speech recognition software that understands and speaks a
variety of languages using a collection of “voice dictionaries.” The service is
activated by first calling into the Lexifone server and then connecting to the
person you want to call.
“The beauty [of Lexifone] is that the technology
is separate from the user experience – often you have to adapt yourself to a
technology, but here the tech is behind the scenes. You just talk and you get an
answer,” says Forest Rain Marcia, Lexifone’s Director of Marketing
Communications, who proudly states that she herself does not own or need a
Lexifone was initially trying to appeal to businesses that
want to expand their clientele, but the company realized that their product
could help people and organizations of all kinds – including international call
centers or health and municipal services.
Marcia claims that through Lexifone,
“there is no language gap anymore because everyone stays in their own
Lexifone picks up on different dialects or speech impediments,
Marcia says. “The technology takes into account a range of different accents
within a language, but one must speak naturally.” Lexifone also offers the
option of verifying if a statement was understood correctly.
originally founded as the brainchild of entrepreneur and CEO Dr. Ike Sagie while
at a technology incubator in Haifa, who combined his passionate interests of
technology, linguistics, and economics.
“At Lexifone we put people in the
center. It’s all about communication. And an easy, effective user experience.
They go hand in hand,” says Sagie.
The price for the service depends on
whether one is providing for individual or group use although official prices
have yet to be released.
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